In the old country, when briar ran scarce or when gnomes ran pesky, it was common practice to use the blocky, stew meat-like heart of the gnome in place of good briar. The gnome hearts (also called the ventriculita) were almost impossible to catch fire and allowed for a true tobacco burn that had almost no added flavor, if cured properly. There were two main methods of ventriculita curing, both extensive, both secretive. I won’t (can’t lest I invite the ire of those who still keep it’s secrets) go into gnome heart curing details here, however, I can tell you that there were two basic types of curing: oxy and deoxy.
Oxy curing demanded an extraction within moments of the gnomes death while deoxy required a waiting period. Essentially the difference in the end product came down to personal preference, however, the coloration of the hearts were noticeably different depending on curing type. Oxy curing gave a pinkish red coloration like oxygenated blood, while deoxy curing gave a deep blueish coloration.
Tenons were often made from the gnome’s femur or a hardened bone white ligament called the springjack which was hollow and allowed them to jump great distances. Stems were often made of dried pumpery tubolees which we would know as pulmonary arteries in humans. These dried hard, were hallow and already had a kind of tapering that worked wonderfully as stems. Coloration of pumpery tubolees varied on the type of heart curing. Oxy curing yielded a dull orange coloration while deoxy curing yielded at blueish coloration.
Even in the old days, humans were notoriously horrible at catching, (much less offing) gnomes in order to secure sweet smoking pipe parts. Thankfully, as long as anyone can remember, pixie lasses garbed in not much more than tobacco remnants, were absolutely expert at catching, dispatching, and extracting (this may sound cruel, but if you truly knew Gnomes, you'd know differently.) Gnome hearts are strangely blocky (see illustration and pipes), but the pixie gals know just how to cut them out with their incredibly sharp swordlets.
It is my pleasure to bring to you the closest (by confounding faery law) I am allowed, to the traditional gnome heart pipe. The 6 limited edition versions are made as follows: odd numbers have the oxy cured look, even numbers have the deoxy cured look. I’ve used excellent aged and cured italian briar, bone white and charred delrin for the tenons with a massive inner diameter of 1/4”, hand cut orange German ebonite for the oxy stems, hand cut blue and black acrylic for the deoxy stems.