Most Expensive Wood Types In The World Used in Furniture

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Venturing into the realm of luxury woodworking, you might wonder what makes certain woods command sky-high prices. I’ve encountered the allure of these rare woods firsthand.

I’ll explore the world’s most expensive wood types used in furniture, from the striking Bocote to the elusive Pink Ivory. These woods aren’t just about price; they embody exceptional beauty and unparalleled quality.

Identifying the Most Expensive Wood Types

Bocote Board

If you’re on the hunt for fancy furniture and swanky home appliances, it’s good to know which wood types will cost you a pretty penny. These woods aren’t just eye candy but also super durable and long-lasting.

The globe is home to a multitude of tree varieties, yet only some are deemed the finest when it comes to high-end furniture. These woods have some seriously special qualities that make them highly sought after.

  • Bocote: This wood has patterns and colors that will make your jaw drop, ranging from golden brown to almost black.
  • African Blackwood: Dark and handsome, this dense hardwood has stunning grain patterns.
  • Sandalwood: Not only does it smell amazing, but it’s also used for carving fancy designs on luxury items.
  • Pink Ivory: This rare African wood is pretty in pink, making it stand out from the crowd.
  • Lignum Vitae: It’s tough as nails but surprisingly easy to work with. A winning combo.

And the list goes on with other posh woods like Purple Heart, Dalbergia (Rosewoods), Ebony, Snakewood, and Agarwood. These woods’ distinct textures, colors, and grains make them a valuable commodity. These woods aren’t just expensive because they’re rare or pretty.

They’re also top-notch when it comes to quality. Now, let’s dive deeper into the individual characteristics of these fancy wood types to truly appreciate their beauty and understand why they’re worth a fortune.

Characteristics of Expensive Woods

The wood used can make a big difference when it comes to fancy furniture. Here are some traits that make certain woods more expensive than others.


Dense woods like Ebony are tough and long-lasting. They can handle wear and tear like a boss.


Rare woods like Sandalwood or African Blackwood are hard to find, which makes them more expensive. They’re like the mythical creatures of the woods.

Aesthetic Appeal

Some woods have killer looks. Bubinga has a reddish-brown hue with dark veining, while Snakewood has patterns that’ll make you think of snakeskin.

Natural Resistance

Expensive woods can fight off pests and decay like superheroes. Teak laughs at bad weather, and Lignum Vitae has oils that bugs hate.

Sustainability Factor

Being eco-friendly is cool, and responsibly sourced timber is worth the extra bucks. FSC-certified Mahogany helps save the planet and keeps your investment valuable.

Uses of Expensive Woods

Wood Dresser Drawer

The world’s most expensive woods aren’t just rare and beautiful and bring unique characteristics to furniture and home decor. These woods are used in high-end luxury items that cost a pretty penny.

Luxury Furniture

These pricey wood types are perfect for crafting statement pieces like dining tables or bed frames that become family heirlooms. They have rich hues, intricate grain patterns, and exceptional durability.

Decorative Accents

Expensive woods are often used to create decorative accents like picture frames or ornate carvings. They add sophistication and elegance that can’t be replicated with cheaper materials.

Musical Instruments

Top-tier musical instrument manufacturers use these precious wood types for their superior tonal qualities. Violins made from Bubinga or guitars crafted from Brazilian Rosewood are highly sought after by professional musicians.

Craftsmanship Tools & Accessories

Some of the world’s priciest timbers are also used to make tools like knife handles or accessories like pens. These items benefit from the strength properties of these hardwoods and have a unique aesthetic appeal.

If you’re looking to invest in products made from these luxurious woods – whether it’s furniture, a custom-made guitar, or an artisan-crafted pen – remember that you’re paying for both the material cost and the craftsmanship quality imbued into each item using this rare resource.

Understanding Wood Value

Different types of wood have various values depending on certain factors.

Determining Wood Value

  1. Rarity: The more scarce a wood species is, the higher its price will likely be. This is due to the simple laws of supply and demand.
  2. Demand: Some woods are sought after for their unique characteristics, such as grain, color, or hardness. High demand can drive up prices.
  3. Density: Wood density often relates to the strength and durability of a wood species, making dense wood more valuable.
  4. Color: Uniquely colored wood species tend to be more expensive due to their aesthetic appeal.

Prices of wood can range per board foot or per kilogram, depending on the species and the region where it’s sold.

Uses of Expensive Wood

Different types of expensive wood are used for varying purposes, including:

  • Furniture manufacturing: Due to their aesthetic appeal and durability, some wood species are often used in luxury furniture.
  • Musical instruments: Specific wood types, known for their tonal properties, are used in high-end musical instruments.
  • Specialty wood products: Unique and rare woods might be used for artistic purposes or in the creation of specialty items.

Most Expensive Wood Types in the World

African Blackwood Board

Now that we’ve covered why some woods are more expensive than others, let’s explore some of the most expensive wood species in the world.

Pink Ivory

Pink Ivory, also known as Red Ivory or umNini, is one of the world’s rarest and most expensive woods.

  • Found mainly in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa, this wood is incredibly scarce.
  • The wood boasts a stunning pink-red hue, giving it the name ‘Pink Ivory’.
  • Traditionally used for royal artifacts among the Zulu tribe, it’s now used for high-quality knife handles and other small specialty items.
  • The price for Pink Ivory can reach up to several hundred dollars per board foot, due to its rarity and unique color.

African Blackwood

Next on our list is African Blackwood, one of the most expensive wood species globally.

  • This dark, dense wood is native to the dry savanna regions of Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Known for its incredibly high density, African Blackwood is typically used in the production of musical instruments, particularly woodwind instruments.
  • Being listed on the IUCN Red List as an endangered species, its trade and exploitation are regulated, contributing to its high price.


Bocote is a Central American wood species known for its unique grain patterns.

  • This wood is prized for its striking grain patterns, which can vary from straight to rosette or eye-like patterns.
  • Bocote is typically used in furniture, flooring, veneer, and small specialty items like knife handles and musical instruments.
  • Despite its exotic nature, Bocote is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of threatened species, but it is still relatively expensive due to its unique appeal.

Lignum Vitae

Lignum Vitae, one of the hardest and densest woods in the world, also carries a hefty price tag.

  • This wood species is native to the tropical regions of the Americas.
  • Due to its extraordinary density, Lignum Vitae is often used for mallets, pulleys, and ship parts.
  • It’s also known for its natural oils, making it an oily, self-lubricating wood.

Holly Wood

Holly Wood is a type of wood known for its almost pure white color.

  • Holly trees grow in regions of North America and Europe, producing this highly valued wood.
  • The whiteness of Holly Wood is its most desirable trait, especially when it’s devoid of any discoloration.
  • Given the small size of Holly trees and the difficulty in obtaining defect-free lumber, this wood commands high prices.

Cocobolo Wood

Known for its striking color variety and grain patterns, Cocobolo Wood is another pricey wood species.

  • Cocobolo is a tropical hardwood from Central America.
  • The wood is renowned for its varied colors, from yellow and orange to deep reds and browns, often with dark streaks.
  • Due to its high oil content, it’s frequently used in fine furniture and musical instruments, particularly guitars.
  • However, it’s on the CITES Appendix II, which has increased its price over the years.

Koa Wood

Native to Hawaii, Koa Wood is one of the most expensive woods found in the United States.

  • Known for its unique grain patterns and warm colors, Koa is often used in making custom furniture, musical instruments, and specialty items.
  • As the supply of Koa from natural forests is limited, this has contributed to the high price of the wood.

Bubinga Wood

Bubinga Wood, native to Africa, is another wood species that fetches a high price in the market.

  • Known for its strength and beautiful figure, Bubinga is often used for fine furniture, veneer, and musical instruments.
  • Due to its overexploitation, certain types of Bubinga have been listed in the CITES Appendix II, contributing to its high cost.

Agar Wood

Also known as Oud, Agar Wood is one of the most expensive woods in the world.

  • The high price of Agar Wood is due to its use in the production of perfume and incense, with certain high-quality Agarwood products reaching incredible prices.
  • Agarwood is produced from several species of trees in the genus Aquilaria, native to South Asia.

Honorable Mentions

Purple Heart Wood

Other expensive woods worth mentioning include Purpleheart Wood and Ebony Wood.

  • Purpleheart Wood: An exotic wood known for its unique purple color, often used in furniture and flooring.
  • Ebony Wood: Known for its jet-black color, Ebony is commonly used in the manufacture of musical instruments, such as piano keys and guitar fretboards.

Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wood

Expensive woods often come with environmental implications. Overharvesting can lead to the depletion and endangerment of certain species. Therefore, it’s essential to consider sustainable and ethical practices when purchasing and using these woods.

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