Does Composite Meerschaum Color?

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Senior Member
Dec 2, 2014
Hi folks,

I read somewhere a while ago that only Genuine Block Meerschaum will color as it is smoked, and a pipe made from composite Meerschaum will remain white. Can anyone confirm if this is true?

I am trying to determine if an unmarked pipe I have acquired is block meerschaum or composite meerschaum. I know that people test this by rubbing a wet finger over it to to see if their finger sticks, but I don't think this test would apply as it appears to have a glossy wax or some other finish on the outside and some carbon coating the inside of the bowl.

I was hoping that perhaps coloring will tell me.
Thank you



May 10, 2015
It won't stay white, but it won't color very deeply either, just take on a pinkish or rose hue. Here's a good example, despite the title the inserts on these are made of pressed meer.



Senior Member
Dec 2, 2014
Thanks guys. This one is taking on a light pink / peach hue. It smokes ok.



Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2012
Washington State
All meerschaum pipes are different, and will color differently over time. There is no set time frame for a pipe to color. You can have two block meerschaum pipes, smoke them the same amount of time with the same tobacco and they will color differently. Some meerschaum pipes take years to color and others will color in a relatively short period of time. The composite meerschaum pipes won't color as nicely as a block meerschaum pipe, but you can still get a nice color on a composite meerschaum pipe. It will take longer though.



Preferred Member
Oct 12, 2011
and some carbon coating the inside of the bowl.
Is this pipe new? I have never heard of a Meer with a carbon coating inside the bowl. You do not need any kind of coating inside the bowl with meerschaum????...



New member
Jan 10, 2014
metalheadycigarguy is right. Each block meerschaum is unique in what particular colors it will display over time, how it will color (uniformly or mottled) and how swiftly it will color. Most of mine tend toward the rust to burnt orange to russet, a few are more purely brown: cream to desert sand to raw umber. I have only one that is coloring rose to red to cordovan. Composite meerschaum not only colors more slowly, it will never color as deeply and tends to be muddy and shallow rather than brilliant and deep. If you purchase a pipe that was carved more than fifty years ago and it is nearly virgin white, it might be a composite or not smoked very much. It might also have been poorly maintained. The Ulmer variant pictured in the attached photos is about 150 years old. The dramatic coloring is due to cleaning and the application of a wax-oil compound.

In case the image doesn't attach (it never does for me) the address is:



Preferred Member
May 11, 2017
From Fred Bass's article and some unverified theory from me.
A. beeswax provides the transportation path within the meer to channel the tobacco volatile residues along the pipe .. therefore with beeswax treatment colors pop, as they are made more uniform and brought to the surface

B. Hotter parts tend to color less than the colder parts and therefore the stem is generally first to colo

C. Mottled color and no color means - uneven heat distribution and / or lack of a transport mechanism
Fred's tip ... while smoking , when the pipe is hot... generally rub a beeswax cake in areas that need attention and then buff off the extra wax while it is still hot to keep your meer in the best of shape
Point C is

My unverified hypothesis... rest are from Fred