Block of black ebony 130х50х30mm. The region of origin of the wood is Gabon.
Ebony is one of the most expensive types of wood, it is sold by weight, like precious metals. The real Ebony is Black Eben.
The ebony tree belongs to the family Ebenaceae (ebony) of the genus Diospyros. There are up to two hundred species of ebony, they grow in the subtropics and tropics of Africa, Asia and a number of islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Ebony wood is diverse in color and texture, largely depends on the specific species and place of growth. In the century before last, according to the encyclopedia of Brockhaus and Efron, traders identified more than a dozen species and subspecies, today this classification is limited to five points:
1. Real black ebony from Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Zaire.
2. White ebony - originally from the Philippine and Mascarene Islands.
3. Wiry ebony - Coromandel (Calamander), from New Zealand, as well as Kamaguk and Philippine ebony similar to it.
4. Red ebony comes from the island of Mauritius
5. The most accessible and relatively inexpensive green ebony growing in India.
Another variety of ebony is macassar - it is mined on the islands of Borneo, Sulawesi, Maluku. Sometimes it is called "fire ebony", because crimson stripes glow with a red flame against a black background. Wood as valuable as African ebony, has identical technical characteristics.
The greatest interest and value is the wood of black ebony, growing in the countries of Central Africa. It is difficult to call this plant even a tree - in a few hundred years it grows only up to ten meters in height and is rarely thicker than one meter. Such a plant is more like a shrub in appearance. Perhaps this is the "smallest" of exotic trees that have industrial use. In addition, unlike the "giants", which have a very narrow sapwood, in ebony it is very wide. And the output of the sound part of ebony is no more than 1/3 of the mass of the entire trunk, and 70% of the sapwood is removed immediately after felling. Despite (or perhaps due to) the small size of the plant, the value of wood is exceptionally high.
Black ebony has black, black-brown or greenish-black wood with longitudinal lighter stripes, on which annual rings are not distinguished. Eben is amazingly beautiful, polishes well and gives excellent gloss, is strong, stable and durable. Wood is heavier than water, is not afraid of moisture, fungi and woodworms. East African ebony is darker than West African in most cases. Eben is relatively easy to process, given its very high density and high hardness, but when sawing it is more correct to use cutters and saws with carbide tips. Even the ancient Egyptians made furniture, sarcophagi, pharaoh's rods and arks from ebony, encrusting them with gold and ivory - the materials were of the same value. The ebony artifacts that have come down to us were made about 4.5 thousand years ago) - the best confirmation of durability. Both the ancient Greeks and the Romans were familiar with ebony.
Today, ebony is mostly used to make furniture. A significant part of this wood is used to create musical instruments - necks of violins and violas, guitars and mandolins. In custom grand pianos, the black keys are ebony and the white keys are ivory. Due to the high density of ebony, not only beautiful, but also well-balanced billiard cues are obtained. From the "cuttings" (for this valuable wood, everything goes to work, to the smallest fragments) the handles of cutlery are made - forks, spoons, knives. Eben is also used by modern jewelers - it goes well with tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl and ivory. And of course, ebony is great for making handles of expensive knives, personalized weapons as expensive inlays.
There is a belief that ebony has healing properties - the reason why furniture made from this wood is not usually upholstered. In medieval Europe, it was believed that poisons, falling into ebony dishes, were neutralized. Ebony tinctures were used as an "elixir of youth".
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