Sunday, 3 October 2021

More Precious Than Diamonds, Platinum, Or Gold,

this is the most expensive wood in the world,

photograph Hafizmuar/Wikimedia Commons, Kynam, or “kyara” as it’s known in Japan, is an extremely rare type of agarwood used in the perfume and incense industries for its complex and very strong fragrance. It is the most sought-after type of “oud”, the name used in the Arab peninsula to describe the dark resinous wood produced in the heartwood of the aquilaria tree, a single gram of kynam can fetch well over $10,000, making it by far the most expensive wood on the planet, and also one of the most expensive natural materials, 

the heartwood of the aquilaria tree is relatively odorless, and pale in color, but in certain conditions, the tree produces a type of dark resin that creates the precious agarwood. For centuries, humans have known that the aquilaria only produces agarwood when harmed. It was theorized that various types of stress, such as being hit by lightning, being invaded by ants or bees, and even being damaged by large animals led to the creation of agarwood, but in the end, it was all down to the infection of a certain type of mould, Phialophora parasitic is the mould credited with the creation of agar, aloes or oud, in the heartwood of aquilaria trees. This resin-embedded wood has a strong, recognizable fragrance used both as incense and as an essence for high-quality, expensive perfumes. People have learned how to infect aquilaria trees with mold to stimulate the creation of agarwood, and there are now plantations in various Asian countries, from Indonesia to Myianmar and Vietnam, that specialize in the production of oud, 

the above video is a full documentary about the wood, it is worth noting that while plantation-sourced agarwood is not exactly cheap, it is nowhere near as expensive as wild agarwood, especially that of superior quality. That’s because plantation agarwood is harvested after only a few years after infection, whereas high-quality wild agarwood can be several hundreds of years old, commanding a premium price. And there is no agarwood more expensive than kynam, “Beyond, way beyond the best there is something much rarer that we call kynam,” agarwood trader Alan Mahaffey told Al Jazeera. “It’s the rarest wood on earth. It’s rarer than titanium, uranium, platinum, rarer than diamond. “It can be $10,000 for one gram. In Shanghai they sold a piece two or three years ago, it was $18m for two kilos of kynam, so it’s like $9m per kilo.” I would never have thought a piece of wood could be more expensive than diamonds, platinum, or gold, but there it is.

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