If you’re looking into meerschaum pipes, you might be wondering: what’s the difference between Turkis meerschaum and African meerschaum?
Africa and Turkey are really the only two places on earth where the meerschaum for your pipe conceivably comes from. While both African and Turkish meerschaum can be used to produce some incredibly beautiful carved pipes, the discerning pipe smoker and collector should know the functional difference between Turkish meerschaum and African meerschaum prior to making a purchase.
Difference Between Turkish Meerschaum and African Meerschaum
Turkey has become the more common source for meerschaum for tobacco pipes due to the African mines being closed down. You may still find African meer pipes around, but they’ll most likely be found at estate sales or online auctions.
- Turkish meerschaum is lighter and more porous, providing a better media for natural coloring over time. Turkish meerschaum is lighter, making it ideal for larger ornamental pipes. The more porous Turkish meerschaum also makes for a fantastic smoke as it filters out some of the smoke bi-products, leaving you with a “purer” smoke to enjoy. It’s also important to know whether or not your meerschaum pipe is made from block meerschaum or pressed meerschaum. Pressed meerschaum simply cannot provide you with the same quality smoke or coloring as block meerschaum can because it lacks the natural porous attributes of the un-pressed.
- African meerschaum is more solid/rugged, but also less porous because of its density. It weighs more and also takes much longer to color (think several generations) because of its density. Most African meerschaum pipes come pre-colored from the factory because of this nuance. For the discerning smoker, the denser media may also have significant impact on the quality of your smoke, while others don’t seem to mind this aspect because the African meerschaum can withstand more abuse. If you do find a good deal on an old African meerschaum at an estate sale, it still might be worth consideration for your pipe collection, as African meerschaum is no longer mined.
“Wild Frontier” series from Crow Valley Pipe Co. – American-Inspired Turkish Meerschaum Pipes
Crow Valley Pipe Company is proud to present our “Crocket” and “Boone” meerschaum pipes as part of our “Wild Frontier” series. These meerschaum pipes were conceived by our very own pipe designer and VP, Nic Bertolero. Due to Turkish export laws which prohibit the export of raw block meerschaum, these American-inspired pipes are 100% hand-crafted from high-quality meerschaum in Turkey, giving you a beautiful meerschaum pipe that will color nicely and smoke well too.