Cigar ashtrays are often oversized statements of masculinity. They could be made from a hefty slab of metal, a portly hunk of ancient wood or perhaps a brick-thick slab of ceramic. These hefty and prominent items are perfectly at home in the man cave or neighborhood cigar shop. But what if you are seeking an ashtray for a space you share with a significant other or in a room where you wish to smoke your cigars while maintaining a certain amount of elegance? Enter the bone china ashtray.
Bone china is strong without being thick, allowing for a less bulky vessel to hold your cigars. Bone china is something you may have once found in your mother’s cupboard or on the table of a fancy tea party you were badgered into attending. Nevertheless, bone china makes for a considerably attractive and understated cigar ashtray.
If you think it’s not fitting to drop ash in such a lovely thing, know that bone china begins with bone ash, which is made from heated animal bones. That ash is mixed with other materials—kaolin, feldspar and quartz—to make the end product.
“Compared to ceramic ashtrays, bone china ashtrays are stronger and more resistant to chipping,” says Keith Park of Prometheus. Then there’s the look, that “snow white” appearance that makes it so sharp on your desk. “Bone china ashtrays look translucent,” says Park.
Prometheus has had bone china ashtrays in its portfolio since the early 2000s. The art deco Bone China Quadri Ashtray ($89.95), pictured here, has a stately elegance with its platinum accents. The piece measures 8 1/4 by 6 3/4 inches, and its lack of branding makes it especially stately.
Davidoff makes a porcelain bone ashtray, with 14-karat-gold script, along with understated company branding. It retails for $100.
Whatever the choice, know that bone china will never be cheap. They are “always more expensive than ceramic ashtrays,” says Park.