What Color Is Ebony? About Color Ebony

what color is ebony

Are you curious about what color is ebony? We will share the answer in this article.

Unbeknownst to many, ebony is actually a type of tropical tree native in India and Sri Lanka. Normally found in these warm-temperate regions, the color of ebony is highly reminiscent of the color black, primarily because of its strong, nearly black wood.

When talking about ebony in a whole other context, what often comes to mind when hearing the word ‘ebony’ is the beautiful skin color of Africans and African-American people.

As a matter of fact, in literature and other creative works of art, ebony is used to describe the smooth and distinguishable features of these people.

The name “Ebony” has even been used as the name of a magazine.

Given that ebony has different meanings and representations, it may be challenging to grasp the true complexity of its nature.

To fully understand what this hue really means, it’s essential that we tackle its roots and what it symbolizes today. If you are interested in learning more about this color, keep reading…


Ebony and Its Origins

Ebony piano keys

As stated earlier, ebony is a type of hardwood tree commonly found in the tropics. This tree is widely recognized not only for its dark – almost black – appearance, but also its durability.

It is described as having an almost jet black and charred-looking bark. However, underneath this dark exterior, a creamy white interior exists.

When polished, this type of wood can fully absorb the polish, yielding a high-shine result.

Because of its unique properties, ebony is used for a variety of crafts, including inlays and cabinet work. I

n fact, this type of wood is also used for piano keys and even chess pieces primarily because it can withstand wear and tear beautifully. It is also used in knife handles, drinking cups in ancient times, and much more.

Due to the material’s popularity, the tree became part of the endangered list, especially combined with harmful and unsustainable practices in the industry.

What Color is Ebony?

what color is ebony

Upon learning about the origins of the ebony tree, you might have a better idea as to what type of hue ebony falls under.

Though you may be on the right track in thinking that ebony bears similarities to black, ebony’s unique color characteristics bear much more depth and complexity.


Though seemingly quite black in nature, ebony is actually tinged with brown. At times, it may even bear olive undertones – similar to that of its leaves.

Depending on its undertones, ebony can sometimes fall under the green category or the dark brown and black families.

The Color Psychology of Ebony

Ebony has grown popular over the years not just because of its stability. Given its many uses, it’s important to understand its symbolism to learn how it can convey messages and ideas.

To uncover the meaning of ebony, it’s best to look at its nearest color family, namely black and other darker hues within that range.

With brown and black as its base hues, ebony is often seen as a symbol of stability and maturity. It also represents dependability and a sense of responsibility.

It imparts a sense of warmth due to its natural origins. Because of this, ebony also embodies fertility and abundance, particularly with its association with the Nile river in ancient times.

On the other hand, its dark nature can also represent mystery and a sense of foreboding. In many cultures around the world, black has connotations of evil and darkness, as well as negativity and internal anger. Most of the time, it is also representative of death.

Today, this shade is seen as a sophisticated and elegant hue that can be paired with a variety of colors. This may be why it is frequently chosen for architectural pieces and stunning creations such as chess pieces and piano keys.

Ebony Color Interior Design

Ebony in Culture

Apart from its use in furniture making, ebony is integrated into the culture more than you can imagine.

For the longest time, ebony has been the leading name of a magazine by John H. Johnson, very much representative of his roots and desire to reach a wider audience looking to shape blossoming African-American life and culture.

Speaking of popular culture, ebony is also a popular color for weapons and armory in the game Skyrim. Found in ingots, ores, and Elder Scrolls, ebony is used not only as a means to upgrade tools and weapons but also to describe the glass-like substance that’s strong and durable through and through.

Said to be made of the petrified blood of a god, ebony here seems to be patterned after the tree itself – hard, black, and unyielding.

The Bottom Line

Ebony is a classic choice that can be used in various avenues and sectors. Now that you have gained a better understanding of what this hue embodies, you can incorporate it in your daily life. From fashion to games, there are endless color combinations you can make with this hue.

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