You don’t need to be an expert to notice that the price of wood can be very costly. The value depends on several factors, but the most important is: the rarer the tree, the higher the price. The most expensive woods come from African countries or dense forests in India.
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Other factors that can define the final price are durability, resistance, and how it can be used. Sometimes the price also increases because the wood is difficult to work with, and not everybody will be able to manage it.
Curious about what the most expensive types are? Here are the most expensive woods you can buy and why they are so costly.
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10 Purpleheart Wood
Purpleheart wood goes by many names: Amendoim, Violet wood, Amaranth, and Peltogyne ( the official name). When the tree is cut, the brown color changes to purple, due to light exposition. Peltogyne grows in Central America, which also makes it rare.
This wood is known for being durable, but also very hard to work with and it is challenging to make it flat. It is also necessary to have the right tools to work with. The Purpleheart wood is water-resistant, therefore it is often used on boats, decking, and flooring. It can cost between $10 and $40 per piece.
Bubinga is found in Western Africa in countries like Gabon, Congo, and Angola. It grows near rivers and lakes. Bubinga is very versatile and it can be used for several purposes: furniture, flooring, joinery, and decorative paneling are just a few examples. It is also possible to find it under the name of African Rosewood because it has some similarities with Honduras Rosewood.
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Using Tung oil as its finishing helps to bring up different tones of red. Bubinga costs nearly $19 per board-foot. But the price is still a bargain compared to other items on this list.
8 Cocobolo Wood
The Cocobolo tree is very rare and grows in Mexico and Central America. It has an orange or reddish-brown color and irregular dark lines. People use its heartwood, which changes color after the cut.
A Cocobolo piece can cost over $600. Besides the appearance, it is easy to recognize the Cocobolo wood due to its floral smell. It is resistant to water, so it is used in musical instruments, furniture, and other objects. It is easy to work with, but due to the market demand, it is hard to find it outside protected areas.
7 Lignum Vitae
While most woods are sold by size, Lignum Vitae is of the few types that has its price defined by its weight. It costs at least $5 per pound and is one of the densest woods in the world, so the prices will always be high. It grows in Central America and some countries in South America.
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The Lignum Vitae is on CITES Appendix list. It means that, due to preservation purposes, just a few cities in the world can commercialize the wood.
Dalbergia costs approximately $16 per foot. It is rare and the most expensive type grows in dense forests in India, which makes reaching it difficult. It is also complicated to work with it and finding someone able to manage Dalbergia properly is almost as tricky as trespassing the Indian woods. That also affects the final price of the material.
However, Dalbergia is an excellent choice for making furniture. There is also a less expensive version of the tree in South America that is very popular in Brazil.
According to World Atlas, Agarwood is one of the most expensive natural materials in the world. It costs approximately $100 per kilo. The tree grows in Thailand, Laos, Himalayas, North India, and Myanmar. It becomes most valuable after being infected by a type of mold. It changes its color and gives a distinct smell to the wood.
Although there are strict rules to commercialize it, illegal Agarwood trading is a profitable market. Countries like Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are the leading importers of the product.
The oil extracted from the wood is also valuable in many countries. It is used in religious rituals and also for medicine.
4 Pink Ivory
Pink Ivory is so precious that in the past, only a Zulu king was allowed to have it. Other people were punished with the death penalty. Nowadays, some experts claim that it is rarer than diamonds. The tree grows in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa. Nowadays, you won’t be punished for having it, but the price starts at $10 thousand per kilogram. So, it is still a luxury having it.
As the name suggests, it comes in different types of pink. It is used for carving, billiard cues, knife handles, and several other objects.
Ebony is known for its dark color. It is very resistant and can last a lifetime. Therefore people use it for different types of furniture. But it is also possible to find it on other objects like combs, knives, cups, and musical instruments. It is a rare wood type and it can be found in some African countries like Cameroon. The average price is $10 thousand per kilogram.
“Ebony has been a wood that for two, or three, or four hundred years, we’ve gone into countries, and we’ve used the ebony until it’s all gone,” said Bob Taylor, co-founder of Taylor Guitars. “Literally. Then we move into another country, and we take their ebony till it’s all gone.”
2 Indian Sandalwood
The price for Indian Sandalwood ranges between $30 thousand and $85 thousand per ton, one of the highest rates in the wood market. It grows in China, India, Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines, and can be found in different colors: red, brown, and dark grey.
It is often used for carving and furniture, and the price is due to its durability and rarity. Unfortunately, the uncontrolled harvesting made it rarer in recent years and it is considered vulnerable by IUCN Red List. India has forbidden the export of Sandalwood, aiming to protect it.
1 African Black Wood
African Black wood is one of the rarest and most expensive woods in the world. It grows in some regions of the African continent. It can be found in Eritrea, Senegal and South Africa. The price per kilogram starts at $9 thousand and the processed timber cost at least $13 thousand
The wood is perfect to create fine instruments like clarinet and make them very valuable. However, the African Black wood is in IUCN Red List of Threatened and might disappear in a few years, due to climatic changes and exploration.
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