An Extraordinary Treasure from the Past: Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
In 1992, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) added Dalbergia Nigra, commonly known as Brazilian Rosewood, to its list under Appendix I. Appendix I is intended to halt all international trade in logs, veneer, lumber, finished products and other derivatives of the world’s rarest wood species. As a result of its inclusion in Appendix I, Brazilian Rosewood is rarely seen in the woodworking trade today. This is indeed disappointing, because Brazilian Rosewood possesses striking color and grain pattern and has for centuries been regarded as one of the most treasured and desirable woods.
One important exemption to the Appendix I trade restrictions is wood harvested before a species was listed in Appendix I. In the case of Brazilian Rosewood, that cutoff date is March 1992.
We have recently come into possession of a small parcel of Brazilian Rosewood that was harvested some 40 years ago, making it legal to sell within the United States as pre-CITES wood. Carefully stored in flitch matched crates that have remained flat and straight since the day they were sliced, these veneers have been quietly resting in the inventory of one of the highest quality furniture manufacturers on the East Coast. Unfortunately, this company went out of business about four years ago. Since then, we have been trying to obtain part of their marvelous inventory of rare and exotic veneers. Wood of this quality is not found anywhere in the world today.
Historically, as Brazilian Rosewood became increasingly more popular over the past 200 years, the demand greatly increased. As a result of this increased demand, particularly in the past 30 years, the trees being cut and milled or sliced were less mature. The smaller trees that were harvested naturally yielded smaller veneer, but the big difference came in the color and richness of the wood. Brazilian Rosewood is only able to reach its most brilliant colors when the trees are allowed to grow to old ages. The finest color examples are relegated to trees which were a minimum of 70 years old and more often over 100. It is only in specific sections of trees of this ripe age that we see the true grains and colors which were represented in the antique furniture that is prized by so many museums around the world. No other wood even comes close to this one for color, fineness of grain, patterns of grain, and rarity.
The Brazilian Rosewood that we are offering is of this vintage and quality. The veneer was harvested from mature trees. The colors are brilliant. Some of the sizes are virtually unheard of in the world of rosewood veneers or lumber. We have plain and quarter sliced in lengths from three feet to twelve feet, and widths from six inches to almost twenty inches. The colors range from bright red to orange, to tawny purples and deep reddish chocolates with black veining. The grain is characteristically overlapped, forming all sorts of interesting grain formations with bull’s eyes, monkey ears, and feathering. Truly, this is some of the finest wood we have ever seen, both in uniqueness of grain and in the quality of the production.
We take great pleasure in being able to offer this fine wood to you for your most important projects. The quantities are very limited, and the few people who have had an advanced look at this stock are simply astonished.