Wood is considered royal since ancient times and is considered to give a rich feel to anything it was added to. In olden times, the furniture was completely made from heavy wood and the carving on it was worth seeing.
Here is a list of top ten most expensive woods in the world, which have been used over the years for any finely crafted piece of art:
10. African Blackwood
Scientifically known as Dalbergia melonoxylon, is a plant that bores flowers and belongs to Fabaceae family.
These plants are found in the areas of Eritrea to Senegal east and Transvaal to south, which are seasonally dry parts of South Africa. The tree belongs to timber specie and is mostly used for manufacturing of furniture and musical instruments. The wood is under the threat of over harvest as there is no proper plan to conserve it and the plant has a low rate of germination. The tree has height of 4-15m and has spiny shoots and grey bark. The leaves have a length of 6-22cm and the flowers are white in color and grow in clusters. The fruit has a length of 3-7cm and is pod with 1-2 seeds.
Out of the woods, sandalwood is the most commonly known and widely used wood in the world. It is a type of wood that comes from trees in Santalum genus. The wood is yellow in color, is heavy and has fine grains. The wood is popular for its pleasant fragrance, which stays on for decades.
The trees are medium sized and are hemiparasitic. The sandalwood and European mistletoe are from same family. The trees of sandalwood are mainly found in Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Hawaii, Australia etc. The wood is used extensively for its oil; it has medicinal properties and is also used in cosmetics. The wood is also used for religious purposes like Hindus use its paste during rituals, in Jainism the paste and saffron are mixed and is used to worship the gods, in Islam the paste is used to apply it on the grave of the Sufi as mark for devotion, it also used in Japanese and Chinese religion.
Ebony has many different species and is from Diospyros genus. It is dense hardwood and can sink in water. The wood is black in color and has a fine texture. It is valuable ornamental wood with a smooth finish when it is polished.
The different species include Ceylon ebony, found in Sri Lanka and South India; Gabon ebony, found in West Africa; Makkassar ebony, found in Indonesia and is expensive because of its multi colored, luxuriant wood grain. The use of ebony has a history with its carved pieces found in the tombs of Egypt. In recent times, ebony is mainly used to make small items like crucifixes and parts of musical instruments like black piano, violin, mandolin, double bass, guitar, bow frog, pegs etc. Traditionally, in a chess set, the black pieces were made of ebony. Ebony is under threat at many places, mainly Africa, due to its illegal cut down and traders take advantage of it and polish ordinary wood with black and sell it as ebony.
7. Agar Wood
Also called Oud, agar, oodh etc. is resinous heartwood that grows in Gyrinops and Aquilaria trees when they get infected with mould. Before infection, the wood is odorless, pale colored and light in weight and as a result of infection, the wood gets a fragrance and become dark and dense.
The resin fixed wood is known as jinko, agarwood, jinko etc. and is of great importance in many cultures due to its fragrance and is often used as perfume and incense. The reason of its high cost and rarity is extinction of wild resources. The finest quality of agar wood is very expensive and the prices can be U$100,000/kg. The range of products available varies in quality with different geographical location, age of the tree, botanical specie, the part of the tree from where the pieces are and cultural deposition. The market for agar wood is estimated to be US$6-8 billion and growing.
6. Pink Ivory
Pink ivory, also known as red ivory, purple ivory or umnini, is a hardwood from Africa. It is used to manufacture different types of products like knife handles and billiard cues.
The tree is mainly found in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The wood in South Africa is sustainably maintained and protected and is cut only with permission. The density of the wood is 990g/dm cube and is extremely hard. Earlier, the pink ivory was owned only by the Zulu people and royal family members had the permission to possess it until Anglo-Zulu war in the year 1879. The fruits produced by the tree are of brownish, yellow, purple or reddish color and taste really good. The parts of the other than wood are used as medicines and remedies.
5. Lignum vitae
It is trade wood and is also known as guaiacum or guayacan and pockholz in Europe and is of Guaiacum genus. They are natives of north coast of Africa and Caribbean and are an important crop for export in Europe since 16th century.
The wood is used where material with strength, density and toughness is required. It is Bahamas’s national tree and the flower is national flower of Jamaica. The wood is mainly obtained from Guaiacum sanctum and Guaiacum officinale both the trees are slow growing and small. Lignum Vitae is derived from a Latin word for “wood of life”. The resin of the wood has medicinal properties and is used to cure arthritis and coughs. It is also known as “bastard greenheart” and palo santo, a Spanish word for “holy wood”. It is also called as ironwood because of its dense and hard wood.
4. Purple wood
Scientifically known as Peltogyne belongs to a genus with 23 species and all of them bore flowers. It is from Fabaceae family and is found in the tropical rainforests of south and Central America. They come from Brazil, Suriname and Guyana rainforests.
The trees are medium to large sized with height of 30-50m and trunk has a diameter of about 1.5m. The leaves have length of 5-10cm and width of 2-4cm. the flowers are white in color and the fruit pod contains single seed. They are mainly found in Amazon rainforest along with South America, Brazil, Panama, Trinidad and Costa Rica. The wood is very hard and water resistant. The tree is expensive because of its beautiful wood, which turns from light brown to purple in color, when cut.
It is a genus of small and medium sized shrubs, trees and lianas of Fabaceae family and subfamily Faboideae. The genus is widely distributed and is found in tropical regions in South and Central America, Madagascar, South Asia and Africa.
The species are timber trees and are high in value because of their beautiful and fragrant wood. The famous of all are rosewoods and are called so because of its smell when cut. The most known rosewood is D. nigra also known as Brazilian rosewood, Rio, Bahia. The 2nd most known is D. latifolia also known as Sonokeling or Indian Rosewood. The Indian rosewood is mainly used as for furniture in north India. The wood is strong, tough and is durable and maintains its shape. It is used for good quality furniture, sports goods, plywood, railway sleepers etc. The wood has a density of 770kg/m cube and color varies between golden to deep brown.
Scientifically known as Guibourtia, belongs to a genus of flowering plant and Fabaceae family. The genus has 16 species of which 13 are found in tropical area of Africa and 3 in South America.
The trees usually obtain a height of 40-50m and trunk has a diameter of 1-2m. The genus has the best timber and bubinga is finest of all. It is often used to produce luthiers and numerous other instruments like bass guitar, drums. The wood is also used to produce high quality furniture and high quality tools like knobs, rear handles etc. Sometimes, European knife handles are made of bubinga or rosewood.
Bocate belongs to Cordia genus and borage family of Boraginaceae. The plants in the genus bore flowers and have about 300 speices of shrubs and trees. Most of the species are found in warmer region and are commonly known as manjack, whereas several species from Central America are called bocate in Spanish.
The plants are food to caterpillars such as Bucculatrix caribbea, Endoclita malabaricus etc. The wild Beetles feed on C. dentate, C. boissieri etc. The flowers have a nice smell and can be found in gardens. The fruit of local species are often used as vegetable, raw or cooked and in India, in Hindi it is called lasora. The pulp of the fruit was traditionally used to make glue. The wood is used to make doors and furniture in south and Central America. It is also use to make musical instruments like guitar.
Top 10 Most Expensive Wood in the World
|Sr No.||Most Expensive Woods Names|
All the woods mentioned are extremely expensive and are found rarely. Extensive use and illegal supply of the woods are a threat to them. They are a natures gift to mankind and should be used efficiently.