In south-central France there is a village called Laguiole situated in an area called "the Aubrac". Almost 200 years ago the cutlers of Laguiole created a knife by blending the forms and features of a local knife called the Capuchadou with an Arabo-Hispanic knife called the Navaja. The knife that resulted, known as the Laguiole, became famous for its exceptional quality, usefulness and style.
The Laguiole knife has two very unique and distinctive traditional features: the "shepherd's cross" on its handle and the "bee" on its spring plate.
The shepherd's cross served as a portable chapel and a rosary for the cowherds and shepherds of the Aubrac who spent the months of May through October in the high summer grazing lands, far from any churches. They would plant the knife upright in a piece of bread, with the cross facing them, to accomplish their daily prayers.
The "bee" is a decorative element in the shape of an insect on the end of the spring plate (the metal bar that runs down the back of the handle), near the heel of the blade. There are many legends about the origin of the bee, and much speculation and debate about whether it was originally a bee or a fly, but for more than a hundred years it has been the de facto trademark and prestigious symbol of France's most celebrated knife.
Unfortunately, the terms “Laguiole” and "Laguiole knife" are not protected or controlled (like the word "Champagne" is, for example). So the fact that a knife is marketed as a “Laguiole knife” does not tell you anything about where is was made, how it was manufactured, or its quality. Most of the “Laguiole knives” that are on the market today are not made in or near Laguiole, and many of them are not even made in France. Many of them are low quality “knock offs” that are mass produced in Asia.
Our Laguiole cutlery, on the other hand, is "the real thing". These are heirloom-quality pieces, handmade by master craftsmen in the region of Aubrac in accordance with the area's artisanal traditions, using the highest quality materials and standards of workmanship. The blades are made of high performance Sandvik knife steel, which allows for razor sharpness, high hardness, exceptional toughness and excellent corrosion resistance. The handles are made of precious materials such as hardwoods, buffalo horn, and bone. The spring plate and bee are forged as a single piece and polished on the inside as well as the outside, as tradition demands.
Each piece is a unique work of art, assembled from start to finish in one sequence, by a single craftsman. Each has its own "personality" - no two pieces are exactly alike. Each piece is marked with the signature pattern of the cutler who made it. Exquisitely shaped and perfectly balanced, with a design that has been refined by generations of artisans, these knives will be in your family for generations as well.
We stock a large selection ofLaguiole steak knives, Laguiole cheese knives, and Laguiole corkscrews here in the United States, but we can also custom-make these products in a very wide range of handle materials. We can also provide other kinds of Laguiole cutlery such as spoons, forks, carvings sets, complete tableware sets, etc. Contact us for special orders.