Meerschaum is a mineral, one of the most porous materials known in the world. It comes from the sedimentation of several million years old tiny marine fossils which residues were compressed during earthquakes, earth changes and ice movements. Residues deposited underground layers about 70 meters depth in Asia Minor, Turkey and more specifically in Anatolia, in secondary sedimentary rocks. This hydrated magnesium silicate is a soft limestone used for the manufacture of pipes because it filters tobaccos in the pipe, it absorbs nicotine and change its color while smoked, ranging from white to yellow, up to dark red after years of smoking.
In addition to its porosity, its main properties are its lightness and softness when smoking the pipe. It is a neutral material that returns smoothly only the taste of your favorite tobacco, unlike root briar which brings you different tastes from the same tobacco according to the briar’s quality and veining and which keeps flavors.
Some people only smoke meerschaum for the purity of its taste, other exclusively briar, but in most cases discerning smokers have in their collection several meerschaum pipes.
During the first twenty smokes, I recommend not to hold a warm meerschaum with fingers. Use a tissue or a glove (our grandparents used a glove called 'gant de fil') or grab only the stem. The new wax will set quietly and you will not mark out your meerschaum with footprints.
After twenty smokes, you can take it in hand. A meerschaum pipe does not need a formation of ‘cake’ in the bowl, you can smoke it straight. The stem can be unscrewed and screwed back to the shank always turning clockwise. Meerschaum is much stronger than it looks but beware scratch. Avoid smoking a meerschaum pipe outside in very cold weather because you could see the beautiful staining of your pipe freeze permanently due to thermal shock. Finally, clean your pipe regularly with pipe cleaners.
You will find here a nice assortment of very different meerschaum pipes, ranging from bent to straight and sculpted pipes. I personally selected one by one all these meerschaums, to present pipes with excellent quality and taste.