Wood is a staple material with a high degree of versatility. It can be fashioned into almost anything, from art pieces to musical instruments and more. The most expensive woods in the world are most frequently used in house décor, musical instruments, and fine art design.
As humans, we’re constantly surrounded by objects and interiors that utilize wood in their construction. We may not think about the existence of wood very often, but that only shows how important it is in everyday life. The type of wood you choose for your interior dictates the mood and tone of the room.
Now that we’ve established wood’s key role in our life let’s talk about some of the most expensive woods in the world. Some of these are on the list because of their rarity and others because of their structure and feel. The demand for high quality, top-shelf wood (pun intended) is increasing every day.
Read on to learn about the top 10 most expensive woods in the world.
- #10 Cocobolo – $50-$65 per board foot
- #9 Ziricote – $60 per board foot
- #8 Koa – $62 per board foot
- #7 Macassar Ebony – $65 per board foot
- #6 Brazilian Rosewood – $70 per board foot
- #5 Pink Ivory – $80 per board foot
- #4 Ironwood – $90 per board foot
- #3 Agar Wood – $10,000 per kilogram
- #2 Sandalwood – $20,000 per kilogram
- #1 African Blackwood – $100 per board foot
#10 Cocobolo – $50-$65 per board foot
Cocobolo is a wood that originates from Central America and is used mostly by craftsmen who make premium knives and guns. This wood has an orange to reddish-brown hue with darker seams winding through the material.
The unique feature that Cocobolo has is its ability to change colors. Once you cut the heartwood, it changes color, and that’s the only part which is used in crafting. Cocobolo can be polished to a glossy finish and is also used to make musical instruments.
#9 Ziricote – $60 per board foot
Ziricote comes from Mexico and Central America and is well-known for its spider-web pattern. It features toughness, durability and a well-polished appearance. It is also quite resistant to decay. This wood is often used to make musical instruments and certain types of furniture.
#8 Koa – $62 per board foot
Koa comes from the Hawaiian Islands, and its appearance matches that of mahogany. This wood is on our list due to its rarity. Hawaiian forests are being uprooted for grazing purposes, making these trees hard to get. Koa has a golden to red-brown hue and is a good choice for furniture and musical instruments.
#7 Macassar Ebony – $65 per board foot
You might have heard of this wood being called Striped Ebony. This is a notoriously difficult wood to use in crafting and is best used for interiors. It is prone to splitting during dry seasons and doesn’t have much defense against pests, so you need to take care of it if you have it. Striped Ebony is considered to be endangered, making it extra pricey to acquire.
#6 Brazilian Rosewood – $70 per board foot
This unique looking wood also features complex spider-webbing in its grain. It can be dark brown to red and purple in terms of hue. Sometimes, it can have yellowish streaks that run along with the dark heartwood, giving it a complex and interesting look.
This wood is ultra-durable and resistant to insects. It’s also pretty easy to work with. It has been exploited in the past but is now controlled and therefore, expensive. It’s used to make furniture, flooring and musical instruments.
#5 Pink Ivory – $80 per board foot
Pink Ivory is an extremely rare type of wood and is known for its striking hues. It can range from pink-brown to a deep purple-red that shines with brilliance. This wood is native to Zimbabwe and is hard and strong, making it useful for a variety of things like utensils, jewelry and some furniture. It is also classified as exotic wood.
#4 Ironwood – $90 per board foot
Ironwood or Lignum Vitae is also referred to as the ‘tree of life’ due to how slowly it grows. This wood comes from the Caribbean region and has a naturally high oil content.
Iron trees are exotic and are hardly found in the wild, making this wood very precious. It is resistant to insects and maintains its hardness for a long time. Ironwood can be light olive to darker grass in hue and often gives off a light scent when it’s processed. It’s used to create bearings, artistic instruments and instrument handle among other items.
#3 Agar Wood – $10,000 per kilogram
Agarwood, which ranks third on the list of the most expensive woods in the world, comes from the Southeastern Asian region and is harvested from tropical forests. The aroma that this wood gives off makes it part of the aphrodisiac group and its oil is sometimes more valuable than gold.
This is an extremely rare and therefore pricey wood. It’s super light to hold and has a pale tone. Agar is used for a lot of different things. It can be used to make scent, for therapeutic purposes or even as raw material for manufacturing fish oil. This is a diverse wood and has a lot of demand, especially in East Asian culture and regions.
#2 Sandalwood – $20,000 per kilogram
A fragrant and aesthetically pleasing wood, sandalwood hails from Southeast Asia and the South Pacific islands, it is currently the second most expensive wood in the world.
It’s commonly used in religious ceremonies and rites and is also a part of traditional medicine in many cultures and areas. Sandalwood is also used to make antique boxes and small pieces of furniture. It can even be consumed through different means, and its oil is used to make scented candles, perfumes, soap and other items.
#1 African Blackwood – $100 per board foot
African Blackwood grows very slowly and is only found in one part of the Sahara Desert in Africa. Understandably, this is categorized as the rarest and most expensive wood in the world. It has dense makeup and can range from purple to deep black. It has fine grains that don’t need to be filled in, and it’s used to create musical instruments, art pieces and some furniture. This wood has a rich history; it was historically exported all over the world to make handles for early European medical instruments.
An African Blackwood tree only grows to fifty feet and doesn’t mature until it’s almost 200 years old. However, this wood is harvested today when trees are only 70-80 years old. These trees are being replanted to ensure a steadier supply of this precious material.