My gourd colors from the neck. It's packed so I can't get a picture right now. I wonder if the pins are in the Meershaum and not the gourd.
I know that it was very popular around the turn of the century for pipe-making companies to pre-color meerschaums, and the desired coloring was what you also see on the more nicely-colored gourds. I've seen poorly-pre-colored meers that are solid colors.
I'm not saying that gourds couldn't be bought in some 'natural' color and then colored by the owner - I have no idea whether or not that's possible. If it IS possible and someone can show some photos of an uncolored commercial gourd calabash, I'd be curious to see it.
Regarding your second statement, I was able to find pictures of lined gourds where the silver rim was removed, and the gourd and lining are even with one another, so the pin would have to go into the gourd. Steve restored a calabash that had a silver band at the top of the bowl and a meerschaum insert that flowed out just past the band. He did not remove the meer insert, and he's thorough, so I assumed the pins in the silver band went all the way to the meer insert. But maybe the pins went through the gourd and the insert was glued to the top of the gourd?
I'd like to get hold of a pile of crappy calabashes of different designs, and start taking them apart Then all our questions would be asnwered!
Sorry (sort of) for opening this can of worms. My next thread will be: 'Can meers be colored just by smoking, or do they require beeswax?', followed by: 'Is the p-lip great, or does it suck?' I have a third idea, but I'll be banned by then.