Wood is a material that comes. However woods are also considered gemstone. Even though wood is an extremely soft material when compared to mineral gemstones, it can be very hard if it is the tropical variety. There are literally hundreds of species, and varieties of exotic hardwoods to choses from when making jewelry, but many are duplicative in terms of color and grain texture. Obviously, it is imperative to select woods that have sufficient hardness to stand up to everyday use.
The term "exotic hardwoods" or tropical hardwoods" refers to wood made from trees that originated in the tropics or subtropics. Most of these tree varieties are evergreen, but a few are deciduous, meaning that they loose their leaves seasonally. softwoods, which are not used in jewelry, come from coniferous (producing pine cones) trees that grow in colder climates.
The primary difference between a hardwood and softwood is the presence of pores, or "vessels." These vessels typically show considerable variation in their size, shape of their perforation plates (simple, scalariform, reticulate, foraminate), and structure of their cell walls (spiral thickenings).
A favorite technique for the use of these colorful hardwoods in jewelry is to laminate (glue) several varieties together in a random pattern, then cut thin sections which show the contrasting colors and textures.
Janka Hardness Test for HardwoodsEdit
To test the "hardness" of these tropical hardwoods we could not use the conventional test for gem (mineral) hardness, the Mohs hardness scale, as they would all fall outside of the lowest range of the test. The Mohs scale is a "scratch test" which all woods would easily fail. The same is true for the Vickers and Brinell hardness tests which were designed for metals.