Glassblowing has and always will be an important ancillary business to the cannabis industry. Most of us have no idea how hard these artists work in their studios to create the glass we use to smoke our cannabis. Bongs, pipes, dab rigs are all staples in cannabis culture and some connoisseurs go so far as to only smoke out of glass because they prefer the clean smoke. There are even Glass Blunts now.
Glass keeps the cannabis world spinning, but we all know those prices can be awfully steep. And since most of us don't have the income needed to spend big bank on high-end glass, we opt out and search for the cheap stuff that is still high in quality. Which, for my Game of Thrones fans, is like finding a sword made of Valyrian steel. While most of us may not understand this enigmatic art form, we can all appreciate the end product.
Whether the glass is expensive or cheap, somewhere along the line you have partaken in the respected tradition of passing the bowl. Now, we just need to show the glassblowers the same love they deserve.
Why is glass so expensive?
A well-crafted glass blown piece of paraphernalia is damn hard to make. Talented glassblowers work with red-hot liquid glass and turn it into a bong or pipe for us to smoke out of or share with our friends. Glassblowing is an ancient art form that dates back to 16 B.C. The art of glassblowing was so coveted that it was only passed down secretively from artists to their trusted apprentices. In some cultures, individuals were even held hostage in fear that they would release information about the craft of glassblowing. During the 1st Century AD, glassblowers were even forbidden to travel so that their knowledge would not spread throughout the world. So, for glassblowing to come as far as it has and for us to be able to complain about the high price of these beautiful pieces of glass blown art are both blessings in themselves. When it comes to pricing, the more expensive the bong, the more work the artist put into crafting that piece.
The artist's labor and craftsmanship are typically not the only factors at play when it comes to the expensive price attached to a certain bong. There are several features that can be added to a glass blown piece to enhance the overall smoking experience for the user.
For example on a bong, a diffuser is a piece crafted by the glassblower and added to the bowl to create a smoother hit when inhaling.
Percolators can also be added to cool down the smoke to make your pulls smoother. There are several types of percolators such as honeycomb, tree, inline and matrix. Each one takes a certain amount of time and craftsmanship for the glass blown piece to be to get the sought-after result.
The artist may also add an ash catcher which comes in a plethora of styles but ultimately looks like a small pipe. These are self-explanatory and are used to catch the ash before it gets into your bong, thus keeping it looking fresh and clean. It also allows for the smoke to be less harsh. Unique craftsmanship is one of the main factors in an expensive glass blown bong, but the clean and smooth smoke is why most people purchase one in the first place.
Glassblowing = Art
As mentioned earlier, glassblowing as an art form has been around for centuries and it has always been yearned after. Whether it be the actual act of glassblowing itself or the end product, glass has always interested humans. That intrigue has been directly transferred over to the cannabis industry. When glassblowing was first introduced to the industry, it was done in the shadows. Much like everything else within cannabis culture, glassblowing was frowned upon by those who did not partake. People have been locked up or had their vehicles searched for drug paraphernalia. So, glassblowers never truly got their recognition and their bongs were sold as "water pipes" at head shops all over the country. But the culture of cannabis is rapidly changing, and with that, glassblowers are getting more acknowledgment.
What used to be done underground, is now rising like smoke. Glassblowers are becoming respected artists and there are even glass brokers who exclusively sell glass blown cannabis paraphernalia. (And they make a killing.)
There are artists making $1,000-$1,500 with each piece – and that's the low end of the market. A few years ago, the highest selling glass bong was going for $5,000, which to most people is way too much money to spend on glass. But now, with the legalization of cannabis sweeping the country, some glass blown bongs are going for as much as $100,000. Of course, this is not the norm but it shows you where this aspect of the industry is headed. People no longer are afraid to share the fact that they smoke, and what better way to do that than to show off your bong that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Should you invest?
If you have $100,000 sitting around, by all means, invest in a glass blown bong made by a well known or an up and coming glassblower. One day it might be valued in the millions, as art typically goes up in value as it ages.
However, if you are not in the one percent, fear not as there are several reasonably priced quality bongs or pieces that you can look into purchasing. You can get a quality glass blown pipe for $50-$100, and $300 can get you a well-crafted bong.
My suggestion is to get one that’s sturdy that will not break if one of your high friends drops it on the floor. There's nothing worse than listening to someone boast about the bong they just purchased, then watch someone shatter it all over the floor. Also, when looking into glass blown bongs get one that is easy to maintain, because they notoriously get dirty and can sometimes be difficult to clean.
If being too noticeable is one of your main concerns, look into a more inconspicuous option. Glassblowers are creative and given their newfound freedom of not having to worry about legal prosecution, there are many viable options available. There are bongs that literally look like vases, and can even hold flowers if you really don't want to give your habit away.
A glass blown piece of cannabis paraphernalia is definitely a must have for your collection, plus it's a great way to get all your friends high without wasting too much nug. Support your cannabis artists and get something that is affordable but of quality. It can be a great addition not only to your stash but also to your art collection.
The future of cannabis is here, which means we're closer to that day when having a quality glass blown bong on display will be viewed the same as having fine china or a painting on the wall.