Gepetto uses Extra Extra grade briar. Ser Jacopo uses Extra Extra plateaux briar. Gepetto uses a conventional straight drill for all its pipes. Ser Jacopo uses a flexible drill for deep bends. Gepetto pipes are made in one finish (rustic) and 4 stains. Ser Jacopo's come in 9 finishes and 12 stains. Gepetto pipes are limited to 15 prescribed shapes. Ser Jacopo has unlimited shape possibilities.
Gepetto pipes have a suggested retail price approximately 25% lower than the least expensive Ser Jacopo. While there are similarities in quality and craftsmanship between the two lines, there are some specific reasons for the difference in suggested retail prices. First and foremost, Gepetto and Ser Jacopo are made from the same Extra-Extra grade of briar. There's one subtle difference - Ser Jacopo uses XX Plateaux, which includes the bark on the outer surface often associated with freehand pipes. Gepetto's briar is XX, but without the bark. Since none of the Gepetto shapes make use of the outer bark, and the briar mill charges a lot more for it, we decided not to add the cost for something we won't be using. You shouldn't think Gepettos are made from lower quality briar. The fact is that of the numerous grades of briar, the XX grades stand at the tip of the pyramid, by which we mean they are the costliest and rarest. When the burl is hacked away from the bush, a portion of the burl is smooth and a portion is rough with the bark. All "Plateaux" briar comes from the outer part of the burl. The briar for Gepetto comes from the smooth parts of the burl, and that for Ser Jacopo from the rough part.
Reason 2: the draft hole of Ser Jacopo pipes are drilled with a special flexible drill. This results in draft holes, which allow a pipe cleaner to pass through to the bottom of the bowl without having to take the pipe apart. Smokers, especially of bent pipes, appreciate this advantage! However, it comes at a cost, which is the time needed to adjust the machine to bore an infinite number of shapes and sizes. Gepetto uses a conventional tool, resulting in a very real savings of time.
Ser Jacopo makes pipes in a wide variety of finishes and stains. The Gepetto line is available in one finish - a rugged rustic carving, and in 4 stains: 200 series Dark Plum; 300 series Mahogany; 400 series Natural and a 500 series Natural Fumeè.
Additionally, the selection of 15 shapes, as opposed to the infinite possibility for Ser Jacopo range saves considerable time. The limited number of finishes, stains and shapes combine to allow Ser Jacopo to utilize the economies of scale they have learned over the past few years during the development and production of their Picta and La Pipaccia series.
Other than these small differences, the time needed to produce a Gepetto and a Ser Jacopo is virtually identical. Both are made by Ser Jacopo's craftsmen of XX briar. Stems are hand cut of rod plexiglass for both lines, and the Gepetto logo is a sterling silver silhouette of Pinocchio inlaid into the stem, while Ser Jacopo's is an inlaid sterling silver "J". Both lines are fully boxed and gloved, and covered by the same warranty.
It's our hope this information will be helpful in making your decision. For those already familiar with the comfort and great smoking characteristics of Ser Jacopo pipes, we believe you'll find Gepetto shares their great characteristics!
This is reprinted from the Marble Arch website, which has more information at www.serjacopo.com