13 Most Expensive Woods and Their Unique Properties

Whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or someone who’s just starting to dabble in the art of DIY projects, you may be looking into some of the most expensive wood types.

And why not? These luxurious materials offer unparalleled quality that can elevate your finished pieces and allow your craftsmanship to shine.

Precious wood scantlings from different woods / wood types in one frame

Want to discover the most expensive types of wood out there? Read our guide below!

Most Expensive Wood Types at a Glance

To give you a quick look at the prices of the most expensive wood types, we’ve created a table below for your reference. 

Take note that these are their average prices, which may vary depending on several factors (including your location).

WoodEstimated Price
Amboyna burl$200 to $300 per board foot
African blackwood$100 above per board foot
Ebony$100 above per board foot
Cocobolo$100 above per board foot
Ziricote$90 above per board foot
Brazilian rosewood$70 to $200 per board foot
Koa$60 per board foot
Holly $35 per board foot
Bocote$30 to $100 per board foot
Pink ivory$30 to $80 per board foot
Sandalwood$25 per board foot
Lignum vitae$25 per board foot
Bubinga$25 per board foot

The World’s Most Expensive Types of Wood

Now let’s take a closer look at our list of the most expensive woods.

Amboyna Burl

a piece of Logs Amboyna burl wood
Janka Hardness Rating1,260 lbf
ColorYellowish- to reddish-brown
Grain and TextureWavy grain; fine to coarse texture
ApplicationsFurniture, veneers, decorative pieces, turned objects

Among the rarest and most expensive wood types in the world, amboyna burl has a reputation for being used exclusively for high-end pieces, such as expensive veneers.

So it’s often reserved for detailed craftsmanship and small-scale artisanal projects such as fine jewelry boxes, ornate inlays, and decorative bowls, which allow its allure to be fully appreciated. 

However, many also appreciate its resilience and workability as a hardwood with a substantial, sturdy feel.

African Blackwood

a close up image of african blackwood texture
Janka Hardness Rating4,050 lbf
ColorBlack; sometimes dark purplish-brown with dark-colored streaks
Grain and TextureMinimal grain; fine and even texture
ApplicationsTurned objects, bespoke furniture, stylish flooring, wood carvings

Native to East Africa, African blackwood is derived from a slow-growing tree species that is classified as near-threatened due to overharvesting and habitat loss. So it’s extremely rare, which is why it’s also incredibly costly.

Besides this, African blackwood is also highly coveted because of its striking black color, which makes furniture pieces and turned objects look sleek and sophisticated. 

What’s more, it also boasts incredible durability and turns impressively well.


a close up image of expensive ebony wood texture
Janka Hardness Rating3,220 lbf
ColorJet black
Grain and TextureStraight or interlocked grain that has little to no visibility; fine texture
ApplicationsFurniture, kitchenware, decor

Ebony is a dense, richly hued wood that has been treasured for its enchanting black color and robust strength for centuries. 

While the wood’s fine texture and natural luster give it a polished finish without the need for stains, its beauty is accentuated when polished as it develops a sheen that highlights its intense color, creating an air of sophistication and luxury.  

It is exceptionally hard and dense, allowing it to withstand the test of time and resist wear in a way that softer woods cannot. 

This resilience makes it ideal for items that are handled frequently or subjected to stress as it does not scratch or dent easily. 


a close up image of expensive cocobolo wood texture
Janka Hardness Rating2,960 lbf
ColorRanges from yellow to orange to deep reddish-brown
Grain and TextureStraight grain; fine and uniform texture
ApplicationsTables, decor, kitchenware, furniture

Known for its range of rich colors going from bright yellow to deep red, cocobolo is an expensive type of wood that’s sometimes called rainbow wood.

Its attractive hues and aesthetic appeal contribute to its high price, along with its relative scarcity due to the slow growth rate of cocobolo trees.  

Additionally, cocobolo has a naturally high oil content. The latter quality gives it a rich and unique scent that’s sometimes described as spicy. 

Cocobolo is also quite hard and dense. This makes it a durable choice for typical applications like flooring and furniture, but it’s also often used for smaller decorative objects, such as tool handles and jewelry boxes. 


Ziricote tone wood sample with a rough sawn finish.
Janka Hardness Rating1,970 lbf
ColorMedium brown to dark brown
AppearanceStraight or interlocked grain; fine texture
ApplicationsFurniture, cutting boards, kitchenware, tables, small wood objects

The most distinct characteristic of ziricote — a wood from Central America — is its dark spider web-like grain. 

Its beautiful medium to dark brown color (sometimes with a tint of green or purple) also complements the grain pattern, giving the wood a captivating appearance. 

This allows it to add a unique flair to furniture, musical instruments, and smaller wood items, where it’s typically used. 

Plus, it’s usually easy to work with, so it’s a superb choice for woodworking and wood carving projects.

Brazilian Rosewood

a close up image of expensive brazilian rosewood texture
Janka Hardness Rating3,220 lbf
ColorDark brown with black streaks
AppearanceStraight grain; medium to coarse texture
ApplicationsLuxury furniture, flooring, tool handles, ornamental pieces, veneers, musical instruments

Although conservation measures have limited its availability (thus increasing its price and desirability), Brazilian rosewood’s legacy endures in woodworking. 

Characterized by a deep chocolate hue with contrasting black streaks and extreme hardness, this hardwood is treasured for its extraordinary beauty and durability.

It’s become synonymous with opulence and fine craftsmanship, often used for the creation of luxury furniture and high-end musical instruments.


Acacia koa wood grain close up
ColorGold to reddish-brown
AppearanceCurly, interlocking grain; uniform medium to coarse texture
ApplicationsShelves, tables, decor

Koa owes its appeal to its rich color, which ranges from gold to reddish-brown tones. This is often accented by its lustrous finish and the notable swirls in its grain patterns. 

These natural designs have made koa a favorite for robust, luxurious, and high-quality items.

Another characteristic that makes this wood so remarkable is its balance of hardness and flexibility. It can bend easily but retains its durability, ensuring that pieces made with koa last long. 


a close up image of expensive holly texture
Janka Hardness Rating1,020 lbf
ColorPale white to ivory
Grain and TextureClose, interlocked grain; fine, even texture
ApplicationsDecorative or novelty items, veneers, inlays, joinery, wood carving 

The pale, creamy white color of holly distinguishes it from other wood types; in fact, it’s considered the whitest wood out there. 

It’s not as hard or durable as the other expensive wood types on this list, so it’s primarily used to create distinctive ornamental pieces that highlight its light hue and refined elegance. 

It’s also ideal for inlays, engraving, and carving.


a close up image of expensive bocote texture
Janka Hardness Rating2,010 lbf
ColorGolden brown to dark brown
Grain and TextureStraight to curved and interlocked grain; fine to coarse texture
ApplicationsDesks, drawers, tables, decor, and small items

Bocote’s distinctive grain pattern, warm color, and natural luster are among the reasons why its demand (and consequently its price tag) has increased over the years. 

It’s become known as one of the most expensive wood types for furniture and various home decor items. But many who use it claim it’s well worth the price because of its visual impact.

Additionally, its durability and resistance to rot and insect damage make it a popular choice for outdoor furniture and decking.

Pink Ivory

an image of wood texture with Pale brownish-pink to vibrant pink color, Straight to curly or interlocked grain; fine and even texture, Hardwood
Janka Hardness Rating3,230 lbf
ColorPale brownish-pink to vibrant pink color
Grain and TextureStraight to curly or interlocked grain; fine and even texture
ApplicationsDecorative items, woodworking projects, and furniture

A rare and luxurious wood native to Southern Africa, pink ivory is highly prized for its appealing, vibrant pink color.

This wood is renowned for its exclusivity and use in luxury items. Its beautiful grain and ability to take a high polish make it ideal for decorative home items, showcasing its attractive hue and smooth finish.

Pink ivory also boasts great density and hardness, which contribute to its durability. This is also why woodworking enthusiasts prefer it for wood carving and woodturning projects. 


a close up image of expensive bocote texture
Janka Hardness Rating1,690 lbf
ColorYellow to dark brown
AppearanceGenerally straight grain; smooth texture
ApplicationsFurniture, decorations

Sandalwood is highly sought-after for its high oil content and heavy fragrance. These characteristics make it a beloved choice for perfumes and incense. 

However, its smooth texture and rich brown have also increased its popularity in the woodworking arena, particularly for wood carvings and other artisanal works. 

Lignum Vitae

Dark greenish-brown or nearly black colored wood texture, Strongly interlocked, irregular grain; very fine texture, hardwood
ColorDark greenish-brown or nearly black
AppearanceStrongly interlocked, irregular grain; very fine texture.
ApplicationsMallets, furniture, and decor

Also known as iron wood, lignum vitae is a dense, hard, and durable wood with a fine texture.

Appreciated for its resistance to decay and high density, lignum vitae is often used in applications requiring durability, such as mallets and furniture. 

Its strength and hardness contribute to its expensive cost.


Appears dull brown when freshly cut; quickly turns violet purple when exposed to light; fades to a dark purplish brown over time, hardwood, Tight, fine grain; medium texture
TypeExtremely hard wood
ColorAppears dull brown when freshly cut; quickly turns violet purple when exposed to light; fades to a dark purplish brown over time
AppearanceTight, fine grain; medium texture
ApplicationsCutting boards, furniture, small boxes, and decor

Purpleheart is easily recognizable by its vivid purple coloration, which darkens to a brownish hue over time when exposed to sunlight.

Often used in both decorative and structural applications, this wood is resistant to decay and termites.

It’s also dense and versatile enough to be used for inlays, flooring, furniture, and home decor.


a close up image of expensive bubinga texture
TypeExotic hardwood
ColorPinkish-red to dark reddish-brown with darker purple or black streaks
AppearanceStraight to interlocked grain; uniform fine to medium texture
ApplicationsFurniture, decor, woodcrafts

Recognized as a unique and exotic hardwood, bubinga has a distinctive pinkish-red to reddish-brown color and fine texture. 

Because of this, bubinga can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any space. It is used for making high-end furniture and musical instruments, particularly guitars and drums.

It’s also quite resilient and resistant to decay, making it a popular choice for outdoor spaces like decks and patios.

Factors That Contribute to the High Price of Certain Wood Types

Factors that contribute to the high price of certain wood types include the following:

  • Rarity — Wood species like African blackwood are rare and difficult to find, which makes them highly valuable. 
  • Slow growth rate — Some of the most expensive wood types have a slow growth rate, which means they take longer to mature and are therefore rare and more expensive.
  • Processing costs  — The process of harvesting, processing, and transporting woods sourced from remote areas can be complex and costly, contributing to their high price.
  • Trade restrictions — Due to their rarity or threatened status, certain wood species need to be protected by international trade restrictions. This can limit the supply of these woods and increase their cost.
  • Unique properties — Properties like exceptional density, durability, and resistance to decay or insect damage can drive up the prices of wood types as well.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Most Expensive Woods

What Are the Challenges of Working With Expensive Wood Types in Woodworking?

Working with expensive woods can be challenging due to their hardness, which can dull tools quickly, and their sometimes unpredictable response to finishes, necessitating careful handling and expertise.

What Woodworking Projects Typically Use the Most Expensive Wood Types?

Woodworking projects that typically use the most expensive woods include the following:

  • Fine furniture
  • Custom cabinetry
  • High-end musical instruments
  • Luxury car interiors
  • Decorative art

Add Luxury to Your Space With the Most Expensive Woods

Investing in these woods can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any home decor collection, and their durability ensures that they will last for years to come.

So why not consider investing in one of these beautiful and unique wood types for your next woodworking project or home decor upgrade? You won’t be disappointed with the results.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *