I have one that I bought in Moscow. It smokes fine (doesn't over-heat or gurgle if I do my part), but I didn't pay $40 for it ($25 I think). Don't be afraid of the pear. I keep hearing that it will be prone to splitting or warping, but have yet to hear "mine split/warped after xx years". It comes down to what it is worth for YOU to have the pipe you really like. If it is worth $40 to you, then it is a good purchase. The tobacco you put in it will burn and taste fine unless you are very discerning (I am not). My $0.02 worth.