An Indonesian species, Macassar Ebony grows natively in the jungles of Maluku, Borneo, and the Sulawesi Islands of the East Indies.
While it’s believed it takes its most common name from the famous seaport, Makassar, which also serves as the capital of the Indonesian province of South Sulawesi, the species is also known as “Amara Ebony,” “Striped Ebony,” and several indigenous names.
By any moniker, it’s an exceptionally heavy, dense hardwood — in fact, one of the highest rated species on the Janka hardness scale. Yet, the heart of Macassar Ebony tends to be quite brittle. And figuring in the fact that the trees are relatively small, it’s easy to grasp how difficult the wood can be to work with, especially when making veneer.
But with diligence, care, and craftsmanship, Macassar Ebony makes for breathtakingly beautiful material. Famous for its signature light-and-dark variegation, vertical grain, and striping figure, Macassar Ebony’s dramatic colors dance between a dark brown to black heartwood and streaking bands of yellowish-brown or grey sapwood. Its grain is usually straight, though sometimes interlocked, and the texture is uniform and fine.
Because Macassar Ebony trees are so small, the logs lend themselves to smaller applications like high-end furniture, billiard cues, and musical instruments. But it’s also an elite species for premium wood veneer and architectural plywood.
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CITES Appendices: Not listed
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Listed as vulnerable due to a population reduction of over 20% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation.
Black and White Ebony (Diospyros spp.)
Ceylon Ebony (Diospyros ebenum)
Gaboon Ebony (Diospyros crassiflora)
Malaysian Blackwood (Diospyros ebonasea)
Mun Ebony (Diospyros mun)
Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)