Briar pipes are very popular with smokers. Briar is an excellent wood for pipes, being very easy to carve yet tough and virtually impervious to heat. They also last a long time, with many vintage pipes available to buy.

The Briar burl is unique amongst all woods used in making pipes. Briar is actually a burl on the roots of the white heath tree. Low growing and hearty, the white heath is a shrub-like plant, growing mainly in the dry, rocky areas around the Mediterranean Sea. Sometimes they are referred to as Heather Trees.

Briar wood is ideal for pipe making as it is a tough material, porous and virtually impervious to heat. Often, the burls can be 50 or even 100 years old when they are dug up for pipe making. It was only in the second half of the 19th Century that Briar was seen as an ideal material for the manufacture of smoking pipes. Clay and Meerschaum had become established materials long before this.

It was around 1840 that a pipe maker called Francois Comoy first started carving his pipes from Bruyere, later to become known as Briar. The very first Briar pipes were bought into England in the mid-1850's. Comoy first started carving in Saint-Claude, France, later to become known as the pipe making capital. To begin with only straight pipes were being carved from Briar, most often being fitted with amber, horn or vulcanite mouth pieces. It is often said that the beauty of a wood pipe cannot be denied or matched. Not many people argue this point.