THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SGIAN DUBHS
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SGIAN DUBH
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 you guessed it 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, cutting bread and eating. As well as more general day-to-day use such as hunting
The Sgian Dubh is usually worn on the same side as the dominant hand.
SGIAN DUBHS IN TODAYS 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 & 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
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SGIAN DUBHS
The earliest known blades, some of which are housed here in Edinburgh at the National
museum of Scotland used German or Scandinavian steel, material that was highly precious
amongst Highlanders. Blades usually measure in 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.
When worn as part of the national dress of Scotland, it is legal to carry the Sgian Dubh in
Scotland, England and Wales. If you are concerned about safety, imitation Kilt Knifes are
also available on The Scotland Kilt Company website. Air travel with a bladed Sgian Dubh is
prohibited and we would recommend that you pack your Sgian Dubh as checked baggage or
send it to your destination ahead of time.
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!I have listed three of
our best-selling bladed, imitation and gift set Sgian Dubhs for your browsing pleasure!
Polished Pewter Celtic Pip Top Sgian Dubh
Thistle Emblem Safety Sgian Dubh Chrome
Masonic 4 Piece Sgian Dubh Gift Set With Stone Top
Browse our full collection at https://www.thescotlandkiltcompany.co.uk/