So... How to appraise and select a Glass Smoking Pipe. As these pipes come in an infinite verity as to size, color, designs that have a great appeal for the eye it is rather easy to forget it's purpose. Mind you not all "Smoking Pipes" are actually meant to be smoked. I have seen 5 foot high Dragon pipes that amaze the eye but only confuse anyone trying to smoke it.. But when purchasing a pipe you intend to smoke, I offer this approach refined over several decades. Hey, I'm a slow learner! First elimanate all glass pipes not blown from Pyrex. Glass is inherently fragile, Pyrex is not. Next, pipes that change color when smoked can be quite lovely. But bear in mind they only change color when dirty. If you as I do insist on a clean medium; (I clean my pipes after every bowl I smoke. I want the purest experience of each verity I can get.) If you share this goal, buy a pipe that's colored to please you now, when it is clean. I will admit I always get a new pipe really dirty to see this color change. Because it's fun.":O} If a clean pipe matters to you, I advise you to get a box of cotton Qtips. Take several Qtips with you when you shop. Don't buy a pipe that has a stem longer than a Qtip can reach to clean. Next try inserting the Qtip into each of the three holes. Stem, bottom of the bowl and what is known as a carburetor hole. A tight fit is fine, to tight to enter is not. When cleaned after each bowl it takes two minutes and two Qtips to experience the full favor your Pipe was originally designed to give you. A dirty pipe does nothing to enhance this. So we have a pipe we like. Take time to see how well it fits your hand. I find I enjoy handling the smooth and sometimes quite complex designs our glass blowers have enhanced our pipes and our enjoyment with. Many pipes have small air bubbles on the surface, these do no structural harm. Up to you if they annoy or offer contrast. (My favorite pipe has one, who knew an air bubble could be endearing?":O} Now set you pipe down on the counter, does it roll or right itself? How many pipe loads are you prepared to loose if it rolls? Patti and I share 6 pipes. I always hesitate in picking the next one I wish to use. They all speak to me. They all tell me something about the one who blew molten glass into a femoral of shaped and contoured glass, made to please hand and eye, mouth and those inner bits that like to jump and shout! Try to avoid the pipes whose bowls are to deep or to shallow. One spills and the other must be dug out when finished. The last thing to consider can be the hardest to judge. The bowl is formed by an indent in what is basically a bubble on a stem. the depression of the bowl creates tight spots usually on the furthest side from the side hole or carburetor. A well blown pipe should leave enough space all around the bowl depression between the interior bowl and the interior sides of the outer bowl of the pipe. To be honest the pipe that is completely free of the dirt accumulating "Pinch" to tight to property clean can be very hard to find. A pipe that offers you all the above features is certain to please. Most will turn you away on one point or another. It's up to the individual as to how persistent they wish to be in the quest for a personal pipe. I can say this I have gone though the entire stock of pipe stores looking but not finding. So if it's your first pipe, just find one you like well enough to put something in. Then in a better frame of mind begin your search. I have met people who do not smoke with a better collection than my own. These pipe are quite often objects of great beauty and are collected as such. Don't forget to bring your Qtips! ":O} PS I am a man whose nose is of average length and whose mustache is valued. A Qtip length stem preserves both nose and its ornament when using a wayward flame. to ignite the bowl. If your nose be extraordinary...a dirty pipe can be quite beautiful...or Who needs nose hairs anyway?