The world’s most elegant cutlery
In a throwaway society, here is an object you will keep for the rest of your life, then
leave to your grandchildren – Laguiole®, the world’s most elegant knife. To the French, this is the tool of choice
the Beaune_Greves, slicing saucisson, spreading pate, coating a slice of country bread
with Roquefort. Or for gutting a trout. Or opening a letter.
In short, Laguiole® cutlery is for living
Not just another Jacques Knife…
The Laguiole® (pronounced Layole)
originated as a herdsman’s knife and is a blend of Spanish and French craft
influences. Knives in this style were first produced commercially by Pierre Jean Calmels
in 1829; corkscrews were added to the knives in about 1880 when the distribution of wine
in bottles, rather than in barrels, became popular. Le Sommelier, the corkscrew
made by Societe Laguiole, was introduced in 1995.
Each piece original and handcrafted
Each of our knives and corkscrews is authentic in its provenance, made in Laguiole by
the Societe Laguiole, founded in 1987 to restore the craft of knife making to this small
town in the Aveyron region of South Central France. Societe Laguiole, a prizewinner for
design in the European Community competition of 1992, employs about 90 people in all.
Each Laguiole® is an original piece,
hand-fashioned from brass, 440 stainless steel, horn tip or precious woods, and engraved
with the distinctive Laguiole® Bee. On the
corkscrew the bee is stylized but present, resting at the tip of the worm. Open a knife or
corkscrew and hold it: nothing fits the hand like a Laguiole®.
Some knife models have a poincon, a spike useful to sailors, leatherworkers and others
who need to poke holes. French herdsmen use the poincon to poke holes in sheep or cows
bloated from eating green forage.
The cross of small rivets on many of the handles allow countrymen unable to attend
Sunday services to create their own place of worship by opening the blade and planting the
knife in the stony Aveyron ground. Should you feel called to do so, it is perfectly
acceptable to plant your Laguiole®, for the
same purpose, in the soft turf of the golf course.
Bee or fly?
No one is sure; there is evidence for both. Some say the decoration on the spine of the
knife represents flies, which torment cows and sheep, and shepherds for that matter, in
the summer. Others insist that it is an imperial bee awarded for loyal service to the
citizens of the Laguiole region by Napoleon the First in the early 1800’s. History
supports advocates of the bee- these insects appear to have decorated French knives since
French tradition advises that when you receive a knife as a gift, you must offer a coin
in return to assure that the knife doesn’t cut your friendship with the giver.