Ebony wood is one of the most valuable, rare, and expensive types of wood in the world; prized for its dark core. Ebony trees (Diospyros) are generally small and slow growing. The Greek name for ebony is Diospyros meaning 'fruit of the gods' and this wood is famous for its dark beauty and opulence. Because of its high density, texture, and waxiness, it is ideal for the production of fine artwork.
Currently, worldwide demand for ebony wood is at an all-time high while supply is an all all-time low. A factor that influences rarity is darkness: the darker the color of the ebony, the more valuable it is. Today, artworks from light brown-brown ebony trees (harvested at 50 years old) are being produced. However, darker woods, also known as “pure ebony” (that look black at first glance) have become increasingly hard for collectors to acquire. York’s Shona Gallery is one of the only African galleries with such dark ebony in the United States.