Meerschaum Christmas Gift

Kimberly got me a meerschaum pipe for Christmas, and exactly what I want in a meerschaum. Something plain and straightforward, as opposed to your pirate heads, eagle heads, and saracen heads.

[caption id="attachment_9080" align="aligncenter" width="381" caption="Thank you, wifey."][/caption]

For those not in the know, meerschaum is a clay most abundantly found in Turkey and Greece and down along that longitude into the Horn of Africa. The name is German for "sea foam", apparently because it is sometimes found bobbing along in the Black Sea. It has some other negligible uses, but it was clearly put on this earth for the making of pipes and cigar holders.

Like briar, the favored wood for pipe making, meerschaum is hard but porous, able to absorb and shed moisture quickly. It provides a cool, dry smoke.

So I smoked this new meer of mine, a bent billiard with a lucite stem, and it smoked like a dream. The only odd bit was the weight; it weighed much less than a briar would have, and with the hard lucite stem, the feel of the pipe itself was much different.

Meerschaum yellows and browns the more it is smoked. The clay also reacts, as it is smoked, with the oils from the smoker's hand. This is why some people smoke their meerschaums whilst wearing white kid gloves (silly people). I'm planning on handling the pipe normally. I look forward to seeing how my handling will affect the coloring of the pipe.