Green Amber?

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Winnipeger

Part of the Furniture Now
Sep 9, 2022
618
3,808
Winnipeg
I see a lot of old meerschaum pipes with genuine amber stems on here. I love the look of those turn-of-the-century cutty pipes. [What's the plural of cutty? Cuttys? Cutties?]

Anyway, when I was touring in the Baltic in 2006, where a lot of high quality amber comes from, I bought a pair of green amber earrings for my fiancée. The green amber (I think) was a little more rare, but common enough that it's not much more costly than the yellow-orange stuff. According to Wikipedia:

"...amber can range from a whitish color through a pale lemon yellow, to brown and almost black. Other uncommon colors include red amber (sometimes known as "cherry amber"), green amber, and even blue amber, which is rare and highly sought after..."​
So, has anyone ever heard of or seen, or does anyone own a vintage pipe with a green amber stem? I can't see why they wouldn't exist. Green amber is common enough. I would guess the amber used to make pipes came from the Baltic region. I'm assuming one of you experts will school me if I'm wrong.

I'd love to see a pipe made with Dominican blue amber, but I guess it would be very expensive. The Dominican amber is fluorescent. It appears normal under artificial light, but it glows blue in direct sunlight and bright milky blue under ultraviolet light. How cool is that!!!
 
Last edited:

georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
4,104
7,190
I love the look of those turn-of-the-century cutty pipes. [What's the plural of cutty? Cuttys? Cutties?]

Hello, fellow Cutty lover! 👍

My apologies for the digression, but it seems to me you need a practical version of a meer w/amber stem.

Namely briar bowl with a tortoise shell acrylic stem.

That way you can have your cake and smoke it like a regular pipe, too. (meaning without delicacy worries):


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Winnipeger

Part of the Furniture Now
Sep 9, 2022
618
3,808
Winnipeg
Hello, fellow Cutty lover! 👍

My apologies for the digression, but it seems to me you need a practical version of a meer w/amber stem.

Namely briar bowl with a tortoise shell acrylic stem.

That way you can have your cake and smoke it like a regular pipe, too. (meaning without delicacy worries):


View attachment 172387
View attachment 172389
View attachment 172390
View attachment 172392
Freaking gorgeous. Who's the maker? Is that yours?

(FWIW I'm not really a fan of acrylic. Just a personal preference.)

In terms of the OP, I'm not necessarily looking for a green amber-stemmed meer. It was just historical curiosity. As I said, when I was in the Baltic I saw a lot of green amber alongside the more common stuff. I figure since amber stems were once fairly common(?), someone must have used the green stuff to make pipe stems at some point (I mean, Peterson??? C'mon!)...But based on the responses so far, maybe not. Seems like @ashdigger would have heard of it, if anyone. @weezell?
 

ashdigger

Lifer
Jul 30, 2016
10,198
62,729
59
Vegas Baby!!!
Hello, fellow Cutty lover! 👍

My apologies for the digression, but it seems to me you need a practical version of a meer w/amber stem.

Namely briar bowl with a tortoise shell acrylic stem.

That way you can have your cake and smoke it like a regular pipe, too. (meaning without delicacy worries):


View attachment 172387
View attachment 172389
View attachment 172390
View attachment 172392
I smoke all of mine without fearing their delicacies.

But then again,

This gets smoked hard too. A practical late 1800’s Meer with Amber.

AF31ED49-870F-403A-B8CF-1502E512C4CA.jpeg
 

OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
3,713
17,856
70
Sydney, Australia
Hello, fellow Cutty lover! 👍

My apologies for the digression, but it seems to me you need a practical version of a meer w/amber stem.

Namely briar bowl with a tortoise shell acrylic stem.

That way you can have your cake and smoke it like a regular pipe, too. (meaning without delicacy worries):

View attachment 172392
Great looking pipe @georged

I have to agree with you 100%
I love looking at pipes with amber stems, but -00yo Amber is very fragile.
They chip and flakes break off if you look sideways at them 😱
Not to mention snapping in half even if handled with kid gloves 😡
 

georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
4,104
7,190
Freaking gorgeous. Who's the maker? Is that yours?

Yeah, it's mine.

A friend here in KC carved the stummel and then handed it off to me to put on a stem and finish it.

We've tag-teamed several pipes that way, and decided to keep #1 and #2 for ourselves as a keepsake sort of thing. We also intend to one day smoke the two pipes together when the time is right, celebration-style.
 

Winnipeger

Part of the Furniture Now
Sep 9, 2022
618
3,808
Winnipeg
I smoke all of mine without fearing their delicacies.

But then again,

This gets smoked hard too. A practical late 1800’s Meer with Amber.

View attachment 172393
@ashdigger I love seeing all those great old pipes you collect, and good on you for smoking them! Obviously 100+ year old amber isn't something you'd want to go chomping on, any more than you'd want to knock the rim against the trashcan at the end of a bowl, but I imagine if you're a little careful, it can handle a little use. I mean, if amber is so fragile, why the heck was it used as a stem material at all, other than for aesthetics. If it wasn't practical they wouldn't have been produced. But it seems like a lot of these old amber-stemmed pipes exist. A lot of them must have been produced. And these pipes have survived through all these decades. Can I ask how big your collection is?
 
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Winnipeger

Part of the Furniture Now
Sep 9, 2022
618
3,808
Winnipeg
I love looking at pipes with amber stems, but -00yo Amber is very fragile.
Wikipedia:

Baltic amber is found as irregular nodules in marine glauconitic sand, known as blue earth, occurring in Upper Eocene strata of Sambia in Prussia.​
Eocene Epoch is a geological epoch that lasted from about 56 to 33.9 million years ago (mya).​
I don't know that pipe stems being 100+ years old is of any significance wrt its fragility when the material it's made from is tens of millions of years old to begin with...

...Then again, maybe being exposed to heat weakens it(?)
 
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georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
4,104
7,190
I mean, if amber is so fragile, why the heck was it used as a stem material at all, other than for aesthetics. If it wasn't practical they wouldn't have been produced.

Fresh amber out of the mine is surprisingly tough and plastic. It was the acrylic of the day as provided by Mother Nature. No one thought much about it except that it was rare(ish) and beautiful, and therefore suited to luxury items like jewelry and pipe stems.

It is AGE that makes it brittle and glasslike. Between 100 and 150 years from production to today for most pipe stems.
 

ashdigger

Lifer
Jul 30, 2016
10,198
62,729
59
Vegas Baby!!!
@ashdigger I love seeing all those great old pipes you collect, and good on you for smoking them! Obviously 100+ year old amber isn't something you'd want to go chomping on, any more than you'd want to knock the rim against the trashcan at the end of a bowl, but I imagine if you're a little careful, it can handle a little use. I mean, if amber is so fragile, why the heck was it used as a stem material at all, other than for aesthetics. If it wasn't practical they wouldn't have been produced. But it seems like a lot of these old amber-stemmed pipes exist. A lot of them must have been produced. And these pipes have survived through all these decades. Can I ask how big your collection is?
Amber is brittle but it’s not a problem with a dry vinyl tape wrap.

I will tell you Amber and hard use are fine. It’s funny how many people own one pipe with Amber and declare what Amber is.

As for my collection, I have a bunch of Amber stemmed pipes. I do not know the number. I can certainly count them if needed but it’s more than 50.

My pipes get hard use. I smoke them out and about, they go in my go bag and etc. mind you my pipes are cased, I’m not a barbarian.

So to hear, they are brittle use supreme caution, it’s just bullshit. Utter bullshit.

But I’m a sub set of one and I’m sure everyone else is smarter and more experienced than me. 😎