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Why is Ebony Tree Called a Million Dollar Tree? Know the Facts! [UPDATED]

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Why is Ebony Tree Called a Million Dollar Tree? Know the Facts! [UPDATED]

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Why is Ebony Tree Called a Million Dollar Tree? Know the Facts! [UPDATED]

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Last Updated on 5 April 2022 • Chelsea from Kraywoods


Ebony wood is one of the most valuable and expensive woods in the world. Hence, the reason behind the million-dollar title. It comes from Ebony trees and it’s valued for its rich black colour, smooth texture and aesthetic appeal. A little background story, black Ebony Wood comes the Diospyros genus tree species. Traditionally, African ebony is the most used species for its creamy, dense and heavy consistency along with dark black heartwood. Can you think of better reasons to classify Ebony tree as a million dollar one? We’re thinking no.

Unfortunately, due to the high value of black wood, many Ebony trees are now endangered. High in natural oil content, ebony wood responds beautifully to finishes and can result in a very high natural shine, making it highly prized for wood sunglasses, luxurious furniture and ornaments over the centuries. Eager to learn more about the Ebony Tree? Here’s what we will explore:

  1. History of Ebony Tree
  2. Where Can We Find Ebony Tree?
  3. Use and Benefits of Ebony Wood
  4. Why Are Ebony Trees Worth Millions?
  5. Importance of Ebony Wood
  6. Why is Ebony Food Facing Extinction?
  7. Ebony Tree Replacements
  8. Top 10 Ebony Wood Glasses

Featured Ebony Wood Glasses


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Ebony Wood Glasses


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1. History of Ebony Wood

Are you interested in finding out more about the history of ebony wood tree? Believe it or not, it’s actually one of the most mysterious and sought-after types of wood. As mentioned earlier, Ebony is a type of dense wood most commonly produced by the subfamily Diospyros. The word ebony comes from ancient Egyptian “hbny”. This popular tree has a special place in ancient Egyptian history as it was used for ornamental purposed and in royal tombs. Till today, evidence of long-distance trade in ebony dates back to ancient times. We’re talking about the old Kingdom of ancient Egypt. There was just something about the secrecy of ebony that made it wanted by the people.

In the late 16th century, Ebony wood was prized for beautiful carved cabinetry in places from all over the world starting with Antwerp. The dense hardness lent itself to refined moldings framing finely detailed allegorical subjects taken from classical or Christian history. Within a short period of time, fine luxury cabinets were built in Paris where the manufacturers were known as ébénistes.

Even the ancient kings of India excessively used the popular hard ebony wood. They used it for wands and image frames. They even used it for drinking cups because it was thought to be resistant to poison.

Did you know Ebony wood was used in handles of Samurai swords?

Vintage ebony wood piano keys

2. Where Can You Find Ebony Trees?

What's so special about Ebony trees? The tree reaches maturity between 60-200 years. They also grow on fertile, in tropical rainforests and usually on lower altitudes. So, where are Ebony trees found?

Ebony Wood is a black, hard wood. It is part of the evergreen tree family. However, there are other tree species from which Ebony wood comes from such as Ceylon Ebony found in Sri Lanka and Southern India. But, unfortunately, others have been placed on the endangered species list published by IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Let’s find out what they are:

  1. Gaboon Ebony: Found in Western Africa, it is the first species listed on the IUCN. It is considered to be endangered because of its extensive longing for the past 100 years. This tree is now commercially classified as extinct. Its black wood is the heaviest in the world. It weighs about 70 pounds per cubic food. As a result, it is also the slowest growing in the world at just one half of an inch per year.
  2. Mun Ebony: Found in Asia, native to Laos and Vietnam. It is one of the world's most massive tree. It has a beautiful natural shine and is highly durable, boasting resistance to termites and other wood-boring insects. However, because of the exploitation and drastic population reduction, export of Mun Ebony is currently banned. Over the past three generations, there has been an 80% reduction of this particular tree. Therefore, it is listed on the IUCN’s red list.
  3. Makassar Ebony: Found in Indonesia, it was considered to be a replacement for African Black Ebony. However, it too is listed on the IUCN’s red list of endangered species due to a population reduction of over 50% years in the past three generations.
Ceylon Ebony Black Wood Tree

3. Use and Benefits of Ebony Wood

When you think of Ebony wood, you can't help but think of its Its rich texture, wax and high density. It's so dense that it sinks in water. Moreover, The most prized ebony wood is hefty and almost black. However, did you know it is used as a cure for Malaria? There are different benefits of benefits which you probably have never known about!

  1. Ebony wood effective for those with Anemia.
  2. Ebony wood is beneficial in the dietary field, specifically those with diabetes.
  3. Ebony leaves are practically used to treat skin conditions like scarring.
  4. Organic African Ebony wood extracts helps protect the skin from damaging effects of pollution.
  5. African Ebony wood is often harvested by locals for its anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.

We know, Ebony trees are ideal. Until this day, Ebony wood is used for all kinds of craftwork and ornamental items such as sculptures, crosses, figurines and chess pieces too! The wood is also involved in the production of musical instruments such as piano keys and guitar picks. Moreoever, you can find Ebony wood in accessories such as eyewear frames, watches and rings. You can also make beautiful home furniture such as frames, cabinets, decorative bowls, combs, cups and knife handlers.

Board Game made of Ebony Wood

4. Why Are Ebony Trees Worth Millions?

Any Ebony tree for sale people? We probably can't afford it. Ebony wood has become one of the most expensive woods in the world. Due to the rich characteristics and rarity of this distinctive black wood, its price can exceed $100 per board foot or $10,000 per kilogram and can even go up to $13000 per cubic meter. Are ebony trees endangered? due to the high value of wood, sadly they are.

Ebony trees are generally slow-growing and small and the demand for Ebony wood is high. The low supply and high demand for this type of wood makes it more expensive than any other type of wood. Typically, a black ebony tree does not grow under closed cover or thick stands. It prefers a more solitary existence. These characteristics derive their inability to compete with other plants.

Ebony trees can take from 70 to 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 a hundred and fifty year old tree and older can produce pure black wood, which is the most expensive type. Ironically, the very best quality ebony looks like black plastic.

5. Importance of Ebony Wood

Due to historically unsustainable harvesting practices and exploitation in the past, the export of certain Ebony Wood species is currently banned. The international union for conservation of nature and natural resources shows that most 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.

We probably know what you are thinking, what other wood is that protected if it wasn't that important? Well, it is called a million dollar tree! In addition to its value, the symbolism and spirituality behind the wood makes it all worth it. Ebony is a symbol of power, purity, balance, protection and look for Pagans. They believe this particular tree amplifies magnetic energy.

You know what? It's great to see people becoming more eco-conscious and caring for our planet’s forests, natural resources and species. It’s crucial to leave unsustainable harvesting practices. For example, there is fantastic work being done to preserve a beautiful Ebony tree forest in the Mauritius. When buying an item that is made of Ebony wood, make sure that it’s reclaimed or sustainably sourced.

6. Why is Ebony Wood Facing Extinction?

Is there a real issue here? The answer is simple: Yes. As sad as the title is, Ebony wood is on the verge of extinction because the demand for it is way too high. Not only that, the tree itself grows way too slow and are too small. As a result, people in different areas cut more and more trees because nobody has time to wait around for that long.  

Most popular in Africa, 60,000 to 80,000 wood carvers make their own living from ebony trees. We both know that it's a large number of people. Add the slow growth and high demand issue to it, you'll get a critical sustainability issue at its best. People simply cut their way through the tree without realizing that Earth at some point will run out of it. Specialists believe that it only takes 15 more years for Black Ebony to be completely extinct.

Is there a solution? Well, the industries keep on cutting and the governments haven't even thought of a solution to regulate or even limit the use of the ebony wood itself.

7. Ebony Tree Alternatives

Many craftworkers cannot afford the use ebony wood. Since it is hard to obtain, there has to be a couple of replacements. In these past decades, many artisans and wood workers are finding alternatives to ebony wood. They make use of other inexpensive types of wood such as oak wood to attain the same aesthetic appearance of ebony wood, at a fraction of the cost. What are the others? Let's explore them:

  1. Katalox wood native to Southern Mexico, Central America and Northern America: a hard dark wood that has similar fine grain and texture to genuine ebony. It is best for small decorative items.
  2. Black Palm Wood native to the tropical regions of Africa and Asia: It is also used to replicate the appearance of Ebony wood when making furniture, boats, floor and tool handles.
  3. Black Walnut Wood originating from trees in Eastern United States. It is commonly used instead of Ebony wood for decorative veneers and paneling, flooring, furniture and cabinetry.
  4. Purple Heart Wood is a favorite among woodworkers in North America. It is native to Central and South America. It is characterized by its straight grain, beautiful sheen and texture. It can be used for small objects as well as heavy construction such as boats, flooring and furniture.

With its high durability, smooth texture, high shine and natural beauty, it comes as no surprise that Ebony Wood is categorized as the most luxurious and expensive wood in the world. Remember that some species of Ebony wood are seldom available today. Though prices are very high, Ceylon Ebony's availability is expected to be in short. Other ebonies such as Gaboon or Macassar are more commonly available, though both are also very expensive.

8. Top 10 Ebony Wood Glasses

As mentioned earlier, Ebony Wood is beneficial to the environment in making luxurious items and timeless objects. But, did you know that it is valuable in fashion too? You can find a variety of accessories, including wood sunglasses and eyeglasses, that are stylish, trendy and ready to be worn by you! If you're looking to elevate your eyewear collection, save the planet with style as we've gathered our top 15 wood glasses made from the Ebony Wood tree:

1. Two-Tone Round Sunglasses

We're starting the list of the top 10 Ebony Wood glasses with shapes of glasses that are traditional. If this is your first time getting sunglasses, try round frames to stick with a standard shape. They're easy to style and go well with most face shapes. But, if you feel like going slightly off the edge, the Roseland Sunglasses will do you justice.

These retro-round sunglasses designed with a keyhole bridge combine Ebony Wood and Rosewood for an alluring two-tone coloured frame with a high-quality feel and upscale contemporary appeal. In addition, these fun and bold shades include dark grey polarized lenses to give you that retro groove look and all the coverage from the dangerous UV rays.

The round sunglasses look great on rectangle, square, diamond, heart and oblong face shapes.

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2. Small Round Sunglasses

In fashion, there are no limits, and that's the great thing about accessories. The more choices you have, the more likely you will find something that will suit you. This is why we have created many designs that feature Ebony wood in all shapes and sizes. So, if you're looking for a small-sized round frame to spice up your style, we recommend checking out the Magnolia Sunglasses.

These alluring vintage-inspired retro-round sunglasses are handmade from layered Ebony and Zebrawood with accentuated brown-coloured tones for a luxurious feel and look. These ultra-chic and lightweight sunglasses are a must-have. In addition, the wood sunglasses include dark grey polarized lenses to protect your eyes from the dangers of the sun.

The round sunglasses look amazing on rectangle, square, diamond, heart and oblong face shapes.

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3. Square Sunglasses

Fashion tends to bring out the best in people, and accessories like wooden sunglasses are there to complement your chosen outfit. So, if you're a fan of square sunglasses, these two-toned wood sunglasses would definitely peak your curiosity. So, play around with your closet and see how the Oxford Sunglasses will fit in perfectly.

These retro-square sunglasses combine Ebony and Teak Wood for an alluring two-tone coloured frame with a high-quality feel and upscale contemporary appeal. The square sunglasses include dark grey polarized lenses for a classic yet modern look. We guarantee that you'll get all the needed coverage from the sun's harmful rays.

The wooden sunglasses look good on oval, round, heart and diamond face shapes.

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4. Wayfarer Sunglasses

We're continuing the list of top 10 Ebony Wood glasses and moving on to a fan-favourite: Wayfarers! They are often mistaken for square sunglasses, but to each their own qualities and angular shapes. Add a little touch of Ebony Wood, and get the bold, classy and sophisticated Challenger Sunglasses.

These wayfarer sunglasses designed with luxurious Ebony Wood temples add an upscale and unique touch to your stylish look! These lightweight wooden sunglasses are a great addition to any man's wardrobe. They include dark grey polarized lenses to protect your eyes on a hot sunny day and offer superior comfort. How about that?

The wooden sunglasses look good on oval, square, rectangle, oblong and diamond face shapes.

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5. Clubmaster Sunglasses

Did you know that Bruce Willis was the primary reason the clubmaster sunglasses were so popular? The famous actor sported the clubmaster sunglasses on the show Moonlighting in the 1980s. Fast forward to today, these frames are still super popular, and you can be a proud owner of clubmaster wooden sunglasses with the Black Jaguar Sunglasses.

The black clubmaster sunglasses are designed with Ebony Wood temples and adjustable nose pads for optimal comfort and fit. We guarantee they will look good on almost any face shape. In addition, the wooden sunglasses are lightweight and include dark grey polarized lenses. The classic and timeless fashion piece will be sure to block out the brightest of lights.

The wooden sunglasses look good on oval, square, rectangle, oblong and diamond face shapes.

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6. Oversized D-Squared Sunglasses

Are you enjoying our picks so far? There's plenty more from where that came from! We can't continue our list without mentioning the D-Squared sunglasses. Like their relative glasses, the D-Squared and square sunglasses have angular lines that highlight your facial features. So, if you wish to stay close to your go-to pair, you can have a look at the Shade Sunglasses for a change.

The wooden sunglasses handcrafted from Ebony Wood feature a sleek flat top and a subtle geometric styling for an effortlessly cool look. These trendy unisex sunglasses include dark grey polarized lenses that will provide both comfort and style.

The polarized sunglasses look good on oval, round, heart, diamond, oblong and rectangle face shapes.  

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7. Tortoiseshell Cat-Eye Sunglasses

We've managed to reach the final pick of Ebony Wood sunglasses. Ebony wood materials go well with textures; you just have to dig a little deep and find out what YOU like. This season, the tortoiseshell prints are seen on different accessories, including wood sunglasses. Ladies, if you're looking for a little edge, the Sky Sunglasses will complement your everyday wardrobe!

These cat-eye sunglasses are designed with a winged-out rounded frame, a standout keyhole bridge and genuine Ebony Wood arms featuring premium materials and modern design elements for a polished look. Moreover, these alluring tortoiseshell sunglasses include gradient grey polarized lenses for the maximum coverage on a sunny day. The feminine silhouette and subtle coloured accents will look flattering on almost any face shape.

The wooden sunglasses look great on rectangle, square, diamond, heart, oval and oblong face shapes.

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8. Semi-Rimless Cat-Eye Eyeglasses

Did you think we were going to talk about sunglasses only? On the contrary, the great thing about using natural resources is the diversity of products you can actually make. We know that prescription eyeglasses are not your ordinary accessory. Since you rely on them to correct your vision, you need to be able to invest in something durable. What better materials to get your hands on than Ebony Wood? Ladies, for alluring glasses shapes, you'll need to look at the Enchanted Gold eyeglasses.

The cat eye glasses are handmade from premium stainless steel and feature authentic Ebony Wood temples. These lightweight glasses frames ensure superior fit and comfort all day long! The striking cat-eye semi-rimless frame featuring angular lines and a winged butterfly tip combines modern and vintage styling for a bold look with a touch of glamour and retro-vogue appeal. Embellished with two-tone gold and matte black finish, these are the glasses you need to add just the right amount of confidence, glam and sophistication to your everyday look!

The cat-eye glasses look great on round, oval, square, rectangle, heart and oblong face shapes.

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9. Round Eyeglasses

Glasses are the first thing people notice. So, you'll need a statement-making piece that will have you stand out from the crowd. If this is your first time getting glasses frames, round eyeglasses will bring you justice. To be specific, it's the Joy Rose Gold eyeglasses.

The round eyeglasses are handmade from premium stainless steel and feature authentic Ebony Wood temples. The glasses frames feature slim lines and an arc-shaped nose bridge for a classic, minimal and versatile look with a touch of retro vibes. Also, the rounded metal rim boasts a shiny gold finish and standout wooden temples for a unique, fun and quirky touch to your everyday style!

The stylish round eyeglasses look great on rectangle, square, diamond, heart and oblong face shapes.

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10. Rectangle Eyeglasses

Our final pick of top 10 Ebony Wood glasses is all about rectangle glasses. People think they're basic but they're easy to style and go well with whatever you decide to put on. They're great for long hours and sit comfortably on your face. High-end materials, like Ebony Wood, are long-lasting and lightweight. So, if you're a fan of rectangle glasses, you can go for the Euphoria Gold Eyeglasses for a change in style.

The rectangle frame glasses are made from premium stainless steel and feature authentic Ebony Wood temples. As for the design, the rectangle frame with subtly rounded edges and standout double bridge features sharp lines and delicate metalwork for a bold and elegant look. These two-tone matte black and gold glasses combine on-trend modern and retro styling that will add sophistication and character to your everyday style!

The rectangle glasses look great on oval, round, heart and oblong face shapes.

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Nowadays, almost all Ebony wood used in the market is sustainably sourced or reclaimed wood. Did you know that ebony tree is an important source of food for the wild animals? Not only is ebony wood beneficial for craftsmen but for animals too! Therefore, our need to continue the sustainable journey with our Ebony wood sunglasses & eyeglasses makes it worthwhile. Made from reclaimed Ebony wood, we march on for a better environment.

With beautiful aesthetic and luxurious appearance, reclaimed Ebony wood is one of our favourite materials to use when handcrafting Kraywoods wooden sunglasses!

By Rachad Kabbara