History of Materials used for making Chess Pieces

In the early fifteenth century, boxwood was used as most common substance for making chess pieces. Boxwood is fine close-grained yellow wood obtained from shrub common to Europe and Asia. But in the early eighteenth century, ebony wood was used extensively for making chess sets.

This hard black wood came from trees which grow in areas like Mauritius, Ceylon, America and India.  The hard and black inner part is used which can be turned or carved to any shape and design. Boxwood and ebony were used together as different sides in the same set.

But in the eastern side of the world, soft wood like sandalwood were used which can be turned or carved into complex shapes. It is light brown in color and never been polished. Bamboo was also been made into used but it was hard for craftsmen to carved it into different shapes.

But in Europe, ivory was preferred for making of European chessmen. African ivory taken from the African elephant was used. At that time all the European chess pieces were made of African ivory while Eastern sets are of Indian.

Quartz is a mineral used for making Hard Chess Sets. It is found in many parts of the world. Jade and jadeite are minerals found in China, New Zealand and America and were used for making delightful hard Chess Pieces.  It is hard and durable and not easily scratched.


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