Thomas launched his own company, Cristom Imports and Exports, in 1982 in Tampa, Florida. The Cristiano's briarwood pipes are magnificently crafted by both hand and machine from the root of the wild briar shrub, which grows only in the Mediterranean region. Shrub harvesters cut the root into chunks that are later selected by pipe makers based on the grain and quality of the wood. Some higher grade pipes were made in Italy by Barontini and L'Anatra.
Thomas Cristiano's pipes are separated in to two main marks: Calabresi and T. Cristiano. The lines expand the horizon from filter pipes to exquisite freehands and classic shapes with ornate details made from precious metals such as gold and sterling silver.
In the Calabresi line there is the Budget line, the Algerian Imports, Italian Imports, Spindrift, Danesi Series, Massicia, Metamorfosi, Raffaele, Free Forms, Cesare Series, and Fancy.
The T. Cristiano line begins with the T. Cristiano, then the VSQ Series (it should mean Very Special Quality, we guess), Metamorfosi , Bosso, Phidias and finally the highly sought after T. Cristiano Signature Series.
Additionally T. Cristiano had a letter grading system: from F to A in ascending order.
From the middle of the 1980s till 1992 Criastiano made a lot of pipes for Kaywoodie and other companies. Also Thomas was one of the most respected humidor makers.
As it's poetically written in Pipedia "Sadly, Mr. Cristiano became a broken pipe on November 7, 2005 while traveling in his native Italy. He was only 53 years old. He is universally remembered as a kind person, as well as a positive influence on the pipe and cigar industries".
4. Jose Manuel Lopes. Pipes. Artisans and trademarks.