Re: New KM rust?
Hmm, I've never seen any rust on a hookah, theyre usually brass, copper, or (to a lesser extent) aluminum.
Its funny that you mention the stem not seating right on the base/vase. Mine sits perfectly airtight and all, but when you rotate it around, the stem is a little askew.
Its not a big deal for me, I prefer the hand made Egyptian solid brass over crappy Chinese ones any day, it might not look perfectly built, but it smokes like a champ. : )