Whether you're a beginning smoker or a connoisseur, you deserve to have at least one Meerschaum in your possession for the pure pleasure of it. Our Meerschaum pipes are made with an incomparable pipe material designed for porous, cool and dry smoking.
WHAT IS MEERSCHAUM? *
"Meerschaum" is a German word meaning literally,
"sea-foam," alluding to the belief that it was the compressed
whitecaps of waves, just as it is said in mythology for the goddess of beauty
- Aphrodite. Meerschaum is a hydrated magnesium silicate. Magnesium doesn't
make it strong and the hydrogen and oxygen don't make it cool. It is the
crystalline structure; the arrangement of the magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and
hydrogen atoms in a rigid crystalline structure that makes sepiolite (the clay
mineral that is identified by pipe smokers as meerschaum) so good for smoking.
The average size of the meerschaum blocks extracted from the clay is about the
size of a grapefruit.
WHY BUY MEERSCHAUM? *
Meerschaum deposits of the highest quality are found only in one place in
the world - in the small city of Eskisehir in central Turkey. And here the
deposits are confined to an area of only 4 square miles.
Mined with hand tools, and by men trained in this singular family
tradition, meerschaum is excavated at depths ranging from 200 to 300 feet. The
miners wash the raw meerschaum lumps and sort them into 5 categories according
to quality. Each of these 5 categories is further divided into 12 qualities
according to size, color porosity and homogeneity of the mineral.
Nearly 300 years ago, the first meerschaum pipe was carved by hand. And
today, these unique pipes are still carved by hand. The carver, a craftsman of
unique ability and long experience, examines each piece of meerschaum,
calculating the lines of cleavage along which it should be split. The split
block-meerschaum is soaked in water for 15-30 minutes until the material
achieves a cheese-like consistency. Working with the softened material, the
carver determines the rough shape of the pipe before the bowl and draft hole
are bored. Like all fine hand-crafted articles, no two meerschaums are alike.
The carved meerschaum goes into a kiln at high temperature, a process that
removes all moisture from the mineral. The shank is threaded and fitted with a
stem. After meticulous polishing with the finest grade abrasives, the
meerschaum is ready for waxing. Though there are many different wax formulas,
beeswax alone yields the rich coloring associated with the finest meerschaums.
Melted and then bleached, the beeswax is ready to receive the pipe itself. The
subtle differences in color and tone among pipes are intentional, achieved by
careful dipping of the pipes a specific number of times.
Simply put, because it affords a unique smoking experience. Meerschaum is the
most flavorful and beautiful pipe you can own. Meerschaum - one of the most
porous substances found in nature - acts as a filter, absorbs tobacco tars and
nicotine, and yields a most satisfying smoke. Meerschaum smokes cool and dry
with a flavor unrivaled by any other pipe. As it ages, meerschaum colors a
rich honey-brown, improving both in appearance and taste.
SOME DO'S AND DON'TS FOR MEERSCHAUM SMOKERS *
Meerschaum Pipes - with a minimum of proper care - will last for a
lifetime. They will not burn out as briars do.
A meerschaum is an investment in smoking pleasure. As beautiful as
meerschaum is to the eye, its true beauty must be experienced. A meerschaum is
made to smoke. Hold it. Enjoy its light weight and silky feel, its distinctive
taste, its ripening to a mellow golden-brown. Justly deserving its reputation
as the "aristocrat" of pipes, the meerschaum is not meant for the
connoisseur alone. All pipe smokers can appreciate the unique pleasure of
Don't be afraid to handle or hold your meerschaum with clean hands. Remember,
you purchased a meerschaum primarily for your smoking pleasure. The
"added" pleasure you derive from a meerschaum is watching it color
as you smoke it.
The conventional wisdom on this topic is that handling a meerschaum while warm
removes the beeswax coating on the pipe, which highlights its coloring. While
this is true, only the purist - the smoker far more concerned with the look of
his pipe than his own smoking pleasure - need worry about it.
Do take care when removing the stem of your meerschaum by pulling it and
twisting it CLOCKWISE while supporting the shank with the fingers. Replace the
stem by pushing it and twisting it CLOCKWISE also. Twisting counter-clockwise
could unscrew the tenon, and doing so repeatedly can strip out the shank. A
little care here will be repaid through a lifetime of smoking pleasure.
Don't tap your meerschaum against a hard surface. If you tap it in your palm,
be sure to support the shank firmly with your hand. This is sound advice for
briar pipe smokers also. To empty a meerschaum, tip it upside down, and if the
ash doesn't fall out on its own use a pipe tool gently to loosen it.
Don't let a cake develop in a meerschaum. Therefore do not worry about
"breaking in" your meerschaum. Meerschaum pipes, unlike briars, do
not burn and hence need not be protected by a carbon cake. Besides, the
meerschaum is softer than the cake and it may crack very easily, since the
cake expands with heat faster than the meerschaum does. You can ream it out,
but you've got to be very careful in the process--the reamer will remove
meerschaum faster than cake, so you've got to watch for spots where you've
reamed away the cake and stay away from those.
It is not recommended to use pipe sweeteners in meerschaum pipes. The porous
mineral will be soaked with the sweetener causing it to lose its
Do clean the cake or residue inside the bowl of your meerschaum. Use a
sharp-edged, blunt-ended tool. Avoid digging into the heel of the pipe when
cleaning the graft hole by not allowing the pipe cleaner (NOT liquid cleaner)
to extend too far into the bowl. Do not use alcohol to clean the bowl of a
meerschaum pipe. The meerschaum is WET and SOFT in the heel immediately after
Smoke your favorite blend in your meerschaum. Each pipe will color
- DO NOT drop nor tap it to the hard surfaces
- DO NOT allow a cake to build in the bowl
- DO NOT twist the stem counter-clockwise
- DO NOT take the stem out of a pipe while it is still hot
- DO NOT use alcohol to clean
- DO NOT use pipe sweetener