The wand is one of the most recognized symbols of the magic user in the world. It appears in nearly every magic tradition as well as on stage and in film wielded by stage magicians. Magically speaking it is used mostly for the directing of energy during a ritual. Because of its phallic shape it represents the male energies of virility and power. In some traditions it is the symbolic tool of the element of fire, in others, it is symbolic of the element of air. Those that align the wand with the element of air make the case that a tool should not be able to be destroyed by its element.
In ritual it is used to direct the casters energy to invoke Deity, or to consecrate the sacred space. It is a common misnomer that the wand holds, or retains power. It is not a battery in any sense of the word at all. It has no power of its own, it is simply a conduit for the power of the wielder. Because it narrows the focus down and concentrates it, it may appear in to intensify it. It can be used interchangeably with the Athame for many ritual purposes.
Wands can be made of any material that suits the user. You can find wands constructed out of everything from crystal to steel. They can be as simply as a straight branch stripped of its bark, or as ornate as a leather wrapped sacred wood that has been studded with crystals. It depends on the person using the want and what resonates with them. Those that do fairy work will tend to shy away from wands that contain any form of iron as it is believed that the fae, and iron simply do not mix. Traditionally, the vast majority of wands are made from wood.
In selecting a wand, like all magical tools, personal preference plays the largest role. Take into account what you want to use it for, if you intend to do fairy work then you want a metal free wand. Other than that, you want one that appeals to you visually and that feels right when you hold it. Usually the length of the forearm from fingertip to elbow is considered a good length for a wand.
Some traditions hold that you should never cut your wand from a living tree, instead you should wait for the tree to “gift” you the wood by the branch breaking off. Others say that it's fine to harvest a branch, but that you should ask the tree first and leave behind a gift of a silver coin or milk at the roots of the tree.