Meerschaum Calabash Pipe
How a Meerschaum Calabash Pipe is made
Some meerschaum calabash pipes have a stem which are made from a calabash gourd and have a meerschaum bowl set inside them. Today it is accepted to give the name meerschaum calabash pipe to a smoking pipe made from meerschaum that is carved to imitate the shape of a calabash pipe.
The characteristics of a calabash pipe are a deeply bent stem which opens up at the top like a lip where the bowl sits. Meerschaum is a white or cream-colored opaque mineral, where its principal source for commerce is found in Turkey.
It is one of the more popular construction materials in the fabrication of a smoking pipe. Meerschaum is characteristically soft, enabling it to be carved quite exquisitely and the results are beautiful and unique hand-carved meerschaum pipes.
The other popular alternative for carving pipes is soapstone. Meerschaum calabash pipes first started to be used in the 17th century and was the ingredient of choice to make pipes along with clay pipes until the 19th century when briar pipes took the lead.
Meerschaum is an extremely porous material and absorbs the tobacco when being smoked so much that it changes the coloring of the white/gray/cream/ material. When buying a meerschaum calabash pipe it is important to buy a one made from a block of meerschaum as opposed to one fabricated from the dust after the carving of another meerschaum pipe.