Do you know why Gaboon Ebony is one of the most expensive exotic woods on the planet? - Exotic Wood Zone

Do you know why Gaboon Ebony is one of the most expensive exotic woods on the planet?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Do you know why Gaboon Ebony is one of the most expensive exotic woods on the planet?

Gaboon Ebony is a marvelous and evergreen tree that mostly grows on the fertile or moist and humid soil which are settled in tropical rainforests which are mainly residing in the lower altitudes of land.

Have you ever wondered or thought about why Gaboon Ebony is so rare to find?

Sometimes, while browsing for the wood you could have made up your mind to buy Gaboon Ebony for your guitar making or pool cues building and pondered over the fact of the high price this exotic wood mark itself on it. Why is it so expensive? What makes Gaboon Ebony so expensive? Of course, you ask yourself these questions when you are on the verge of buying the exotic wood for yourself.

In this article, you will get to know the answers you are seeking!

Wood Details

This exotic wood can be seen in jet-black, with little to no variation or visible grain along with the mere and occasional presence of dark brown or greyish-brown streaks.

The grain of Gaboon Ebony is more or less straight but can also be found interlocked in some cases. The exotic wood is perceived with fine even texture incorporating very high natural luster.

Gaboon Ebony has a mild and sometimes slight presence of unpleasant odor when being worked with the tools or machines.

Gaboon Ebony wood is one of the most valuable, exceptional, and expensive woods in the world. It is popular for its smooth and exquisite texture accompanying with deep black shade.

Specialized tools are required to work with this hard, dense ebony wood. With the presence of high natural oil content, the ebony wood responds beautifully to finishes and can result in a very high natural shine, making it highly prized for luxurious furniture and ornaments over the centuries.

The Gaboon Ebony tree can survive hundreds of years. It reaches maturity between 60 and 200 years.

The dark heartwood of Gaboon ebony trees has applications in numerous industries because of its durability and strength.

Due to the high oil content found in this wood, it can sometimes create problems with gluing at the time of working. But then, Gaboon Ebony has its strength in finishing well, while it polishes to a high luster. Moreover, this exotic wood responds well to steam bending.

Gaboon Ebony

How it is imported

Due to historically unsustainable harvesting practices and exploitation in the past, the export of the Gaboon Ebony Wood species is sometimes at stake. The international union for conservation of nature and natural resources shows that most of these ebony tree species are now protected to prevent extinction.

The trade of Ebony wood is now highly controlled under the convention on international trade for endangered species, wild fauna, and flora, an international trade agreement designed to protect species that are depleted by export. Gaboon Ebony is listed as endangered due to a population reduction of over 50% in the past three generations, caused by exploitation.

Gaboon Ebony Logs

Moreover, When Gaboon Ebony has cut down, it is carried by manual labor from the interior forests in Africa. So it is not possible to take large lumber slabs of ebony to load into the trucks. Moreover, longer lumber logs are harder to get. Only a 30 to 40-inch lumber log can carry from the source.

And in the processing mills, Gaboon Ebony logs are first to cut for fingerboards. Moreover, chances for streaks and stripes are high on the fingerboards, thus making jet black very hard to find. Then the ebony is cut into turning blanks and other smaller products.

The demand for the ebony wood is very high: it’s a high-quality hardwood that’s very hard, very strong, and most of all, very black. Low supply and high demand mean prices go way up. These high prices, coupled with the fact that a lot of the world’s ebony grows in third-world countries, only exacerbates the problem.


Gaboon Ebony wood is used for all kinds craftwork and ornamental items such as sculptures, crosses, figurines, and chess pieces; musical instrument parts such as piano keys and guitar picks; accessories such as eyewear frames, watches, and rings; home furniture and décor such as furniture, frames and cabinets, decorative bowls, vanes, and inlays.


Gaboon ebony trees do not grow under closed cover or thick stands. It prefers a more solitary existence. These characteristics derive their inability to compete with other plants. Gaboon Ebony trees can take from 70-200 years in order to attain a usable size and mature. The older and darker ebony wood is, the more valuable it will be. Only one hundred and fifty years old tree and older can produce pure black wood, which is the most expensive type.

The fruit of Gaboon ebony is edible. The fruit is mostly small in size, sweet and succulent. It can be eaten when it is fresh, dried, or in the form of porridge.

The fruit of Gaboon ebony is utilized in the industry of alcoholic beverages for the manufacture of beer, wine, and brandy.

 Why it cost high

With its high durability, smooth texture, high shine, and natural beauty of Ebony wood, it comes as no surprise that it’s categorized as the most luxurious and expensive wood in the world.

The small size of the tree and its high demand for ornamental work may contribute to its seemingly outlandish price.

Why it is rare and hard to find

Gaboon Ebony trees are an important resource to the peoples of Tanzania and Mozambique. It is said that approximately 60,000 to 80,000 woodcarvers make their living by carving wood from the ebony tree. Wood that is exported costs up to $17,000 per cubic meter. Several international attempts have been made to protect the ebony trees from the exploitation they get in any particular area.

There are several factors for this wood to become rare, due to the combination of limited habitat, slow growth, and high demand it has become a very rare species of wood. It is one of the most expensive and luxurious types of wood in the world. Depending on the quality of Gaboon ebony wood and its potential use, you could be looking at a price of over 15,000 US dollars.

Other types of ebony

Ceylon Ebony:- Still commonly referred to as Ceylon Ebony because the medium-sized tree reached its best development in Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon). It is also sometimes referred to as East Indian Ebony or simply Indian Ebony. Although Ceylon Ebony was the original ebony of commerce, it is almost extinct these days.

Mun Ebony:- One of a handful of ebony species that are native to Asia: more specifically, it’s native to Viet Nam and Laos. Because of exploitation and drastic population reductions, the export of this species is currently banned.

Macassar/Stripped Ebony:- So named for the Indonesian port-city of Makassar, which is one of the primary points of exportation. Being a striped variety of ebony, it is not always considered a direct replacement to African ebony species and is not considered to be as imperiled as other ebonies.

Pale Moon Ebony:- This exotic wood is also known as Black and White Ebony. The exotic wood is a pale straw color, with darker black streaks throughout; some pieces may be predominantly black rather than white.


Gaboon Ebony has several ubiquitous benefits and attributes which make it special.

Exotic Wood Zone has been selling several wood products of Gaboon Ebony such as Bridge Blanks, Headplates, Guitar Sets (Back and Sides), Turning Blanks, Bottle Stopper Blanks, Bowl Blanks, Knife Blanks, Pepper Mill Blanks, Pen Blanks, Lumbers and Cutoffs.

Go and check out these products and see for yourself the grand specialties of Gaboon Ebony!