Monday, May 3, 2010
Today's Word: MEERSCHAUM
From the German for "sea foam," Meerschaum is a soft white mineral found mainly in Turkey, but also in lesser quantities in France, Spain, Morocco, and in some U.S. states. Used mainly for making smoking pipes and cigarette holders (in Vienna and other European manufacturing centers), it was often intricately carved, with figural heads forming the bowl of the pipe. It was also used, to a much lesser extent for carving decorative figurines. In the 1970s, Turkey banned the export of Meerschaum, and today, Meerschaum products not made in Turkey are usually made of pressed Meerschaum and are of inferior quality. With use, Meerschaum pipes gradually change color, and turn yellow, orange, or a reddish brown.