A staple of any traditional kilt outfit, the Sgian Dubh is an accessory steeped in history. There are many tales of the origins of the Sgian Dubh but the most popular theory is that it originated from the phrase “Sgian Achlais” translated to “Armpit Knife”, a knife slightly larger concealed by Highlanders under their armpit.
Single-edged and as sharp as a sword, the Sgian Dubh or “Kilt Knife” was originally used for preparing fruit, meat, and cheese as well as cutting bread and eating. It was also used for more general day-to-day use such as hunting and protection.
The Sgian Dubh is usually worn on the same side as the dominant hand.
SGIAN DUBHS IN TODAY'S SOCIETY
As time has passed so has the function of the Sgian Dubh, now worn as part of traditional Scottish highland wear tucked into the top of the kilt hose with only the upper hilt visible.
Of course, this style can be interpreted any way you like and your outfit can still be traditional.
SGIAN DUBHS IN OTHER COUNTRIES AND CULTURES
The Sgian Dubh is most commonly linked to Scotland, but throughout history, we can examples of decorated small knives take roles in other cultures. Examples include the Sikh Kirpan, the Afghan Choora, and the Nepalese Kukri.
We can also see the Sgian Dubh used throughout other countries such as New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, USA, Australia as the immigration of Scots throughout the globe has seen our traditions spread throughout various lands.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SGIAN DUBHS
The earliest known blades, some of which are housed in Edinburgh at the National museum of Scotland, used German or Scandinavian steel, a material that was highly precious amongst Highlanders.
Blades usually measure around 9cm with the hilt (handle) measuring in at 10cm. Early Sgian Dubhs used antler and hand-carved wood as handles but more often than not these days you will find Sgian Dubhs using epoxy plastic for hilts.
OUR MOST POPULAR SGIAN DUBHS
We offer a comprehensive range of bladed, imitation, and gift set Sgian Dubhs. With traditional antler handle, Celtic designs, or Clan crest badges on offer!
We have listed three of our best-selling bladed, imitation and gift set Sgian Dubhs for your browsing pleasure: