Quality - Standards
At the import and export market, 1-2-meter-long, 10-20 kg heavy agarwood timber, logs, chips, flakes, powder, etc., are available. Even agarwood products of a similar grade carry different price tags as the prices are fixed according to the density of wood and resin, their purity, the strong aroma that emanates when they are burnt, their colour, shape and size, and their family.
Even though agarwood timber and logs are of superior grade, most customers prefer agarwood of lower grades like chips, flakes, etc., considering the size, transportation cost, confusion about resin density and the expensive rates of timber and logs.
Right from agarwood timber to powder, agarwood of all grades, varieties and sizes are generally dipped in water and tested in the Chinese method of Chen Hsiang/ Chen Xiang. According to this method, agarwood is dipped in water to see if it sinks, half-floats or floats to check its resin density. The sinking variety is considered to be the best as its resin density is high while the half-floating and floating varieties have low density resins.
Another popular method of checking the quality of agarwood is by burning it. When agarwood is burnt, the aromatic fragrance it gives out helps in determining the quality of agarwood. Some experts also check for bubbles in the flame to determine resin density.
In short, the price of agarwood is dependent on many factors including resin density, colour, fragrance, etc. Naturally, the half-floating, floating and low grade varieties of agarwood cost less.
In the present day market, agarwood chips, flakes, pieces, powder and oil enjoy a very good demand. Agarwood powder is collected when chips are being made from timber or logs, during sculpting and carving, and sawing and transportation of the tree. Sometimes, big logs are powdered for the purpose as agarwood powder is in great demand among customers.