Most older Dunhill Shell Briar pipes were stained a blackish/red color, or simply black. From handling for many years, the stain simply wears down to what you see in front of you. I never thought this could happen, but smoke a pipe I made a few years ago that was stained black and has since worn down to this same color. I've smoked it thousands of times. I'm not saying this pipe was smoked as much as mine, but there is something nice about a hand-worn finish.