Do you know if the East Indian Rosewood that is on your guitar is legally procured?

Do you know if the East Indian Rosewood that is on your guitar is legally procured?

Is your Rosewood following the rule of Sustainability or artificially propagated wood as mentioned in the CITES? If not, you are using illegally sourced wood !!.

For a little background information, let me tell you this Dalbergia latifolia alias East Indian Rosewood is an Exotic Wood procured from the tropical monsoon forests of South India. This premium timber is used extensively as a vital wood for acoustic guitars, and its only source is from India.

East Indian Rosewood Tree

Then in 2016, came a government regulation. Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia Species) included in the CITES regulation. 

For those who don't know about CITES, it is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals.

CITES made the export of Indian Rosewood more complicated. Reason? Illegal procurement and trafficking of Rosewood items in South Asia.

This made a big uproar in the International Furniture and Guitar market. Even a small piece or an item that contains a small amount of Dalbergia species needed permits for the commercial trade.

To find out genuine sources of East Indian Rosewood, I traveled to India. A land of diversity with a lot of cultures and languages.

Jockey, CEO Exotic Wood Zone

Rosewood is available only in three Indian states, the southern states of Kerala, Karnataka and, Tamil Nadu. However, Tamil Nadu has banned any sale of the East Indian Rosewood for the past 25 years. That leaves Kerala and Karnataka. Can you imagine that? Only two places in the whole world that supplies Indian Rosewood.

How is Rosewood sold?

Two ways, one is through government auctions through government forest depo, while the other is buying from plantations that grow Rosewood.

For Government auctions, all rosewood sold is fallen trees in the forest. However, there is a catch here. That is, wood is from the forest, so the CITES should mention W in column 10 appendix 11 of the CITES Certificate. What is W, it means its Wild. But if its mentioned W, so that import is not permitted to the United States as it’s not artificially propagated, so to make these exports possible. The CITES certificate mentions A when it should have been W. Isn’t this completely wrong. I would say yes !!

To learn more about the plantation grown Rosewood, I traveled to Wayanad, a beautiful hill station in Kerala. I was very shocked when I walked from my resort with my friend. 

He showed me Rosewood trees growing in houses, most of the house or private property we passed had countless rosewood trees growing on their premises.

The government of Kerala allows private persons to sell the Rosewood on their property. If someone wants to sell Rosewood that is on their private property.

The government forest official comes and inspects the tree and makes sure it belongs to the private person grown on his private land.

Then issues permit for him to sell the Rosewood tree.

That is what we call artificially propagated trees. The Cites Certificate will mention in column 10 appendix II as A, which is a real A….(Artificially Propagated).

Legal procurement certificate will show who owned this tree and if it was from private property.

That is how at Exotic Wood Zone, We procure 100% artificially propagated Rosewood. Moreover, that is not deforestation and complies fully with the CITES regulation. There is no compromise in that.

How can you find if your Rosewood is W ( Wild Grown ) or A ( Artificially propagated)?

Any importer of Rosewood in the US should ask for a Legal Procurement Certificate. That will show if the Rosewood imported is wild grown or plantation grown.


Most importers just get the CITES Certificate, which may have a Fake A on the certificate and import it.

Here is an example of a legal procurement certificate. See how it mentions that it was sold by a person from his plantation.

CITES Legal Procurement

This truly is Artificially propagated or as per CITES, under controlled conditions. TRUE A.

Legal Procurement CITES 1

I don't know how many will read this blog or understand what I am saying, I thought I should write this blog for all those who care about the wood they use.

Finally, here comes the Question. Why is the Government of India allowing the CITES to write A ( Artificially propagated,) for wood that is sold in Government Depo when it should have been W Grown in Wild )

The simple reason, The CITES regulation says either W or A is legal. But if you want to ship it to the US it should be only A while W is not permitted. That means all wood sold at Government Forest Depo can't be shipped to the US.

I end my blog here and leave the rest of you to figure out what is happening.

Maybe I would be questioned by the Senate Commission for writing this blog but I will stand by what I said no matter what!!