Most Expensive Woods in the World

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Wood has the kind of timeless quality that no other material can offer. It is a material that will always be in fashion and furniture made of wood can be with you for a long, long time.

Two wood logs
Two wood logs (Image: Wikipedia)

Anything made of wood was always considered royal even from ancient times due to the richness that it is imparted on anything made of it. If you want top-quality lumber, you have to pay the price.

Although we consider wood to be a material used mainly for making furniture, it can also be used for making many other things. In this post, we discuss some of the most expensive wood varieties in the world that we use to make furniture.

Most Expensive Types Of Wood

The primary reason why some wood varieties are so expensive is that they are not easy to come by. A lot of the furniture you see comes from wood that is relatively easy to procure. On the other hand, some wood varieties are not only challenging to find but also challenging to work with. The result is that such types of wood are costly. Here are a few of the most expensive varieties of wood in the world:

Purple Heart Wood

Purpleheart Wood
Purpleheart Wood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Here is a variety of wood that will cost you anything between $9.00 and $12.00 per board foot. Being one of the costliest types of food in the world, purple heart wood comes from Central and South America. It comes from the Peltogyne tree that belongs to a genus that includes 23 species. Purple heart wood has a fair degree of water resistance and is considered hard. The color of the wood varies from dark brown to purple.


Sandalwood tree
Sandalwood tree (Image: Dinesh Valke)

At the cost of $20.00 to $30.00 per kilogram, sandalwood is widely used but extremely costly. Sandalwood is a native to Nepal, India, Australia, Pakistan, and Hawaii. It has a yellow to orange shade with a fine grain but is considerably heavy. Sandalwood is well-known for its fragrance that lingers on the wood literally for decades.

African Blackwood

African Blackwood
African Blackwood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

At a rate of $10,000.00 to $20,000.00 per ton, it is one of the world’s costliest woods. The scientific name for this wood is Dalbergia melonoxylon, and it belongs to the Fabaceae family. This wood comes from South Africa and other African countries like Transvaal, Senegal, and Eritrea. African blackwood comes under the category of endangered species due to overlogging and lack of effort to conserve it. It is useful for making musical instruments and furniture.


Agarwood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

This variety of wood comes at $7,000.00 to $10,000.00 kilogram and forms part of a multi-billion-dollar market. The very highest quality of agarwood can cost up to $100,000.00 per kilogram. It’s a dark resinous wood that comes from the synopsis plant. One of the main features of this wood is that a particular mold infects it. It is the mold that gives it a characteristic dark color and makes it dense and heavy. The aromatic resin that this wood produces makes it useful for manufacturing incense and perfume.


Ebony wood
Ebony wood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

You can pay up to $10,000.00 for a kilogram of ebony. It comes from the Diospyros tree and is also called Black Timber. This variety of food is a native of India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Africa. Ebony is known for its characteristic dark, almost black color and is very thick and dense. It is well known for its use in ornamental woodwork items. Ebony can be finished to an extremely high polish. It is suitable for making black piano keys, musical instruments, pegs, and chess sets.

Pink Ivory Wood

Pink Ivory plant
Pink Ivory plant (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

You can end up paying $7.00 to $8.00 per board foot for this wood. Another name for this wood is red ivory wood. Pink ivory wood is a native of Zimbabwe Mozambique and South Africa. It is a hard and dense wood and we use it to make billiard cues and knife handles. Pink ivory wood also has medicinal uses.

Lignum Vitae Wood

Lignum Vitae
Lignum Vitae tree (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

You can get a pound of lignum vitae wood for about $5.00. This wood grows in the Caribbean and coastal South America. Lignum vitae wood is the national tree of the Bahamas. The flower of this tree is the national flower of Jamaica. It is a sturdy, strong, and dense wood. Other than timber, this wood also has medicinal properties. It finds use in treating arthritis and throat problems.

Dalbergia Wood

Dalbergia Wood
Dalbergia Wood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

This wood does not come cheap at a rate of $14.00 to $16.00 per board foot. It is a native of Africa South America and Southern Asia and we also call it Indian rosewood. We use dalbergia to make structural planks, furniture, railway sleepers, and even for manufacturing plywood. Dalbergia also makes rosewood, a well-known variety of wood for its fragrance when cut.

Bubinga Wood

Bubinga Wood
Bubinga Wood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

This world can cost up to $19.00 per board foot. It is another variety of wood that is considered to be one of the most expensive for making wooden furniture. Bubinga grows in the forests of Bangkok and South America. These trees can grow up to a massive height of 40 to 50 meters, and their trunks can range from one to two meters in diameter. The wood of the bubinga tree makes musical instruments, furniture accessories, and knife handles.


Rosewood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

You can buy rosewood for about $8.50 per board foot. This decorative wood is a native of India, Bolivia, and Madagascar. It comes in a brownish color with dark veins. The overall shade of this wood is pinkish, and it tends to develop purple streaks. It is a flexible and durable wood yet has considerable strength, and it is quite heavy. Rosewood makes excellent dressers and cabinets. It also makes musical instruments, billiard cues, chess pieces, and flooring. Another widespread use of rosewood is to make perfume.


Elm wood
Elm wood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The cost of elmwood is about $10.00 per board foot. It belongs to the Ulmaceae plant family and restricts itself to the northern hemisphere only. It grows in Eurasia, North America, and parts of Australasia. Elm has a reasonably high

resistance to decay. A long time ago, this wood only served the purpose of making canoes and ropes. But over the years this wood began to play a prominent role in furniture making due to its high durability and reliability.


Maple Wood
Maple Wood (Image: HRYMX)

This variety of wood cannot be considered universally expensive because there are cheaper varieties available. The costliest type of maple is curled maple, which comes in both soft and hard forms. Maple has a pleasant, light color that can vary between golden to reddish from time to time. It makes good furniture and we also use it to make musical instruments, sports goods, butcher blocks, and flooring.


Mahogany wood surface
Mahogany wood surface (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Coming to the last expensive wood on our list, you can get some cheaper varieties of mahogany. The price fluctuates wildly between $8.00 to $30.00 per board foot. Mahogany comes from tropical countries, and the trees grow in wet and dry tropical forests. The pleasant, reddish color and the sweet scent of mahogany makes it popular for making furniture and cabinets. We also use it for making musical instruments and boats.


As a dedicated woodworker, you would find it extremely interesting to know about some of the varieties of wood that are so expensive that you may not ever get to see them in real life. Due to this reason, we felt it worthwhile to list some of these varieties of wood to share the knowledge with you.

Although you may not work on all the varieties of wood mentioned here, you should be able to come into contact with some of them in the course of your work. As a woodworker, you need to know something about the qualities that make expensive wood. If you are ready to pay the price, you can get wood for making furniture with an ageless quality.

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