Ebony is a hard black or brown wood obtained from several different species of the genus Diospyros. Ebony is the darkest known wood, which together with its high density (it sinks in water), fine texture and the ability to be polished extremely smoothly makes it very valuable as an ornamental wood. It is an endangered species. Therefore, it is now mainly used to make musical instruments. Black chess pieces were also made of it. 
Strictly speaking, such wood is produced by several species of the genus Diospyros, but sometimes ebony is also called other hard, dark woods that are not of the genus Diospyros. The most famous ebony wood is derived from the tree Diospyros ebenum, distributed in southern India and Sri Lanka.
Some species of the genus Diospyros give the so-called striped ebony, which has similar physical properties, but is not black, but streaked. Other species do not produce ebony wood at all, such as American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana).