Mahogany is an umbrella term for different sub-species of tropical hardwood found throughout the Americas, South-East Asia and parts of Oceania. The UK is the world's second biggest importer of mahogany, behind the USA.
Its use as a furniture wood took off in the early 1700s, as Britain relaxed duty laws on imported wood form the West Indies and after the French revolution reduced France and Spain's territories, Britain moved in to control the vast majority of Mahogany from the area.
Hard wearing and naturally water resistant, Mahogany is used extensively in boat building, while its ability to produce a deep rich tone when used in instruments means it is used by, among others, Gibson Les Paul guitars.
Sadly, the overuse of Mahogany has lead to it becoming very rare in its natural form and therefore very prized and expensive.