Ebony: The World’s Prized Decorative Wood

Ebony: The World’s Prized Decorative Wood
December 11, 2015 Northwood Rings

Throughout history, craftsmen have developed the ingenuity to craft beautiful objects, rings, and gifts out of some of widest variety of materials, minerals, and stones available on our planet.  When picking out a material for your jewellery, ebony is a bold, yet subtle and stylish choice.

What is ebony?

Ebony is a dense species of wood that is very tough and durable due to its density – ebony is so dense it will actually sink in water under the right circumstances.  Historically, ebony was used to make luxury items like chess pieces, large wooden cabinets and wardrobes, and commonly used for furniture.  Some of the earliest examples of crafted ebony have been found in tombs sealed since the time of Ancient Egypt, as gifts for the deceased to take to the afterlife.  It was also even violin fingerboards and tuning pegs, and black piano keys.

What does it look like?

Ebony wood has a unique black hue to its grain and comes in a few varieties.  It has varying dark hues and can sometimes appear striped with darker and lighter hues together in the same grain of wood.  Ebony is so unique that some wood sellers have been known to try and counterfeit the rare wood by blackening lighter and more common wood with shoe polish.  Given the right treatment, any chair, figurine, or piece of jewellery can look as if it is made of a deep black stone.  This is one of the traits that makes ebony such a unique and sought-after type of wood: its ability to appear and feel as heavy and solid as alabaster stone, but pliable, workable, and approachable to carve as any other species of wood.

Why should I consider ebony jewellery?

In the world and trends of modern jewellery, it is common enough to see the bright colours and sharp angles of decorative stones and hard metals trying to catch everyone’s attention.  The smooth, dark subtlety of a black ebony ring is sure to make a striking impression on anyone who sees it, without trying too hard.  In addition, Northwood Rings’ ebony wooden rings always source from eco-friendly, ethically sourced renewable suppliers of wood, so purchasing an ebony ring supports an ethically and ecologically friendly business and endeavour.

What pairs well with ebony?

One of the excellent things about this type of wood is its pallor and hue.  Being a black jewellery material, ebony will pair well with pretty much anything and never clash with any custom design you may be considering.  Make your next ring a mixed-media piece, with an ebony and white gold-inlay ring, or even set a stone over an ebony band.  With a material as versatile as ebony, the sky is the limit in terms of design ideas.

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Macassar Ebony - Southeast Asia: A beautiful dark red to black toned wood. Great with vibrant colours like turquoise or malachite.
English Oak
*We are currently using the lighter woods from our Macassar Ebony to achieve this color as Roasted English Oak that is workable for bentwood has become hard to find. Colors range from medium to dark brown and nearly black tones.
Grey Maple
Sugar Maple - Canada: We use the same maple as our regular maple listing, but achieve a beautiful greyed colour by soaking the wood in iron acetate to achieve a weathered silver look.
Santos Rosewood
South America (Brazil and Bolivia): Not a true rosewood, and the same wood as our Pau Ferro, we use the santos name to differentiate the more red tone of this wood from the yellow tones of our Pau Ferro.
Pau Ferro
South America (Brazil and Bolivia): The same as our Santos Rosewood (although not a true rosewood), we use the Pau Ferro name to differentiate the more yellow tone of this wood from the red tones of our Santos.
Central and South America: Beautiful deep purple tones that range to nearly black, but show up brilliant in natural light.
American Elm
Eastern to Midwest United States: Tones range from a toasted caramel to light creamy white in the sapwood
Hawaiian Golden Koa
Hawaii: Vibrant golden tones ranging to reddish hues make this one of our customers most favorite wood choices.
American Black Walnut
Eastern United States: Walnut ranges from a pale brown to a deep chocolate brown and every shade between. Can have color casts of yellow, grey, purple or red.
Elm Burl
Western Europe: The grain in a burled tree is caused by some form of stress or injury to the tree, but creates a pattern that is beautiful to look at. Colors range from medium to dark brown with small figures of color patterns changing throughout.
Canadian Maple
Sugar Maple - Canada: Light and bright in color, our sugar maple comes from Canada and is a beautiful warm creamy white tone ranging to a light honey shade.

None of the woods we use are listed in the CITES appendices as being threatened or endangered. Macassar Ebony is listed on the IUCN Red List as being vulnerable due to a decline in it’s natural range. 

We source most of our woods from craftspeople and artisans with pieces too small for their own use. In this way we feel we can create beautiful rings without contributing to their decline.

Lapis Lazuli
"Blue Mix"
Made from Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli and Malachite
Synthetic Coral
Coral Sand
Natural Sand
Mother of Pearl
Synthetic Opal