by Samil Sermet,
Meerschaum pipes came into being over 300 years ago when artisans discovered the beauty of Meerschaum. Meerschaum is used for more than just pipes. Meerschaum is used for pipes for several reasons. Pipe smokers like the intricate designs that can be carved into the pipes. Meerschaum pipes are prized by owners the world over. Meerschaum pipes can be purchased wherever fine tobacco products are sold.
Meerschaum is a mineral that is easy to engrave or carve. The best Meerschaum is reported to come from the country of Turkey. Located primarily in the small town of Eskisehir, it is a mineral comprised mainly of hydrous magnesium silicate. The mineral is soft and dug from the earth in large lumps. Meerschaum pipes came into being over 300 years ago when artisans discovered the beauty of Meerschaum. Meerschaum is used for more than just pipes. There are sculptures, figures, and more that are carved out of this fantastic material.
Initially the meerschaum is soaked in water for around half an hour. This makes the material super easy to carve. The carvers are supremely talented artisans. Their creations are astounding. Once carved the pipes are fired in a kiln. Firing removes the moisture from the mineral. A shank is then inserted, and a stem added to the other end. They are each carved by hand and thus subtle differences will occur even in pipes that are alike. The meerschaum is then polished, and dipped in beeswax. The beeswax is bleached to provide the spectacular white finish.
Meerschaum is used for pipes for several reasons. Beauty and uniqueness is extremely valuable. Pipe smokers like the intricate designs that can be carved into the pipes. The Meerschaum is lightweight and allows the artist to produce clear, concise carvings. Smoking a lightweight pipe is also easier for the consumer. The porous meerschaum stone allows the smoker to taste the tobacco and not the additives. A Meerschaum it filters out tobacco tars and nicotine. This act produces a better taste for the smoker. Most smokers prefer to try a new tobacco in a meerschaum pipe. In addition, as the pipe gets broken in, the nicotine creates a rich amber tone that is attractive. This taste of the pipe continues to improve with age too. Lastly, the pipe stays cool and dry when being smoked; this allows the tobacco to burn evenly and produces a quality smoke.
Dedicated pipe smokers put a lot of time and consideration into purchasing their pipes. They utilize various pipes for different tobaccos and situations. The Meerschaum is prized for its ability to deliver the flavor of the tobacco while filtering out nonessential elements such as tar and nicotine. However, as any good product does, it takes the waste products and turns them into a fantastic patina for the carved bowl. Meerschaum pipes are prized by owners the world over. Pricing varies significantly based on the reputation and abilities of the carvers. Meerschaum pipes can be purchased wherever fine tobacco products are sold. They can be purchased with fitted cases and displayed if desired.