Ebony wood is a beautiful, exotic hard wood. Its strength and dark color have often made it the topic of myth and legend. Hundreds of years ago, ebony wood was used by important people to ward off evil spirits. Drink glasses were even made from ebony wood to protect the user from being poisoned.
Ebony trees grow in tropical rain forests and are commonly found in Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia and India.
The interior section of ebony wood is either pure black, black green or dark red when its completely matured, while its saplings and outer wood are either white or light gray.
Dark ebony is usually found growing in high altitudes, while lighter ebony, including the redder colors, generally grow at lower altitudes. The color of ebony is also influenced by soil conditions and growth rate.
Ebony wood is most commonly used for creating decorative objects and musical instruments. Canes, bagpipes, chess pieces and knife handles are all common items that are made from ebony wood.
Because ebony wood is extremely hard and dense, sharp tools must be used when working with this material. Historically, ebony wood was available only to master craftsmen because of the nature of the material and its great expense.
Susan Elliott teaches studio art and creative writing to home schooled students. She is a graduate of Northwest Arkansas Community College and the Memphis School of Preaching Student Wives Program. She has written for Christian Woman Magazine and Virtuous Magazine. When she's not writing, she is painting or making costumes.