Wooden chess sets are more durable than plastic chess sets, and unlike marble, or glass sets, do not break when dropped onto the floor. More than 90% of the world’s wooden chess sets are made in India.
Most good quality wooden chess sets are crafted from exotic woods like Ebony or Red Sandal Wood. Ebony is a strong, dense and expensive black wood. Ebony pieces are far more sought after and ebony sets more collectable than most other woods. However, it is quite brittle, so it does not withstand impact well.
Ebonizing is the process of turning wood black to resemble ebony. It is much less expensive and is difficult to distinguish from real ebony without close examination. The ebonizing can wear off on the sharp corners and details in time, but it is easily restored.
Rosewood, Boxwood and Sheesham Wood are also good quality sets but are slightly more affordable. Rosewood is an excellent wood for chessmen and is more expensive than Boxwood. It is very resilient and does not chip very easily.
Mid-range sets are generally constructed from Maple or Walnut. Otherwise, if the wood type is not specified, the set could be made from just tropical hardwood.