Crystal Ball Review


Published: 06/27/2017

by Ryker Hodge-Attili


In a word, this bong is classic. Classic design, classic construction, classic material. For a pipe named for looking into the future, this one sure is a blast from the past. Let’s take a rundown at all the ways the Crystal Ball is bringing classic back.

We’ll start with the basics: the inimitable soda-lime, also known as “soft glass.” The Crystal Ball is blown from the original bong glass, soda-lime. If you’ve ever had a soft glass pipe, you know it’s not soft at all! So why the name? Soda-lime, unlike the borosilicate glass you’re probably used to in your pipes, nowadays, has a relatively low glass transition temperature compare, at a frosty 1,063 degrees Fahrenheit. While this makes it easier to work with, it unfortunately also means that the glass expands and contracts more during the pipemaking process, so it is known to be much less forgiving than borosilicate, despite being much less expensive to produce. As a result, most modern pipes these days are made with borosilicate glass.

But as anyone who has ever had a soft glass bong will tell you, there’s one thing that soda lime excels at that borosilicate can never match - absolutely gorgeous myriad color patterns. The flexibility of soda lime in its molten state, and the lower temperature it melts at, allows artists to incorporate a vast array of delicate colors without losing their texture or hue, and meld them masterfully into breathtaking patterns. The Crystal Ball takes full advantage of this, coming in six distinct styles, with every individual pipe being wholly unique. This is a level of individuality you’ll rarely see with hard glass bongs, and at a mere fraction of the price that truly unique borosilicate pipes can cost. Beyond the old school material, the Crystal Ball is adorned with classic twisted glass faring impossible with contemporary glass techniques. Specialty low-temperature melts are performed to tease out haunting shapes from the glass details fused onto the glass base, and bring out the breathtaking metallic sheen of the coloring minerals.

But how does it smoke?

Just because it has old school style and quality, doesn’t mean it smokes fantastically, right? After all, new designs were invented for a reason! Well, that’s what you’d think. But ask any old timer you know, and they’ll tell you. Some designs stick around because they got it right. Nothing exemplifies this quite so much as the smooth draws of the Crystal Ball. While this pipe appears, at first glance, to be a very simple diffused downstem bong, to leave it at that would be to overlook the thoughtful mathematics that went into the way it smokes.

Take a closer look - the diffused end of the downstem lies precisely in the center of the spherical water chamber, while inserting at a steep enough angle that every hole can be submerged without coming close to wetting your bowl. This allows the airflow to pass through just enough water to filter the harsh carbons out of your smoke, while encouraging a convection of the water so that there is a constant flow around the downstem, carrying away the dirtied water and ensuring each bubble passes through a fresh wave. Combined with the outwardly tapering neck of the pipe, which expands and cools your hit, this ‘simple’ pipe is expertly designed to deliver smooth, crisp hits all year long.

To see more photos or to purchase this or other gorgeous soda lime glass pipes, simply click here. Use promo code: NUGS for 10% off site-wide.