Discover in this article the legends and stories surrounding the Laguiole knife. Learn about the superstitions when gifting a knife, the explanations behind the shepherd's cross, and more about the bee (or fly) symbol!
What Happens When You Give a Laguiole Knife?
There is a tradition that says when you give a knife, the recipient must give something made of metal in return (usually a coin). This custom arises from the belief that giving a knife cuts friendship or love unless exchanged for a coin. It's said that a knife, or any sharp object, holds great power, and giving it away might mean losing that power unless a coin is received. Queen Elizabeth II, after receiving various silverware, including knives, insisted on giving a "half penny" in return. So, if you're superstitious, don't forget to give a symbolic coin to the person who gifts you your Laguiole knife.
The Shepherd's Cross:
On the handles of Laguiole knives, you'll find the famous shepherd's cross. It consists of delicate decorative nailwork. This cross only appeared on the knife after World War II. Legend has it that ancient buronniers (shepherds) would plant their Laguiole knives in the table to pray. With the knife held vertically, the cross served as a tool for prayer.
Fly or Bee?
The insect featured on the spring, the symbol of the Laguiole knife, is seen by some as a fly and by others as a bee. Which is it? It's important to know that the "fly" on Laguiole knives is a technical term in cutlery that refers to the end of the spring. It was only in the early 20th century that the "flies" on Laguiole knives were decorated. Before this period, few Laguiole knives were decorated (the symbol was a flower). The bee (or fly) then replaced the flower. A legend that supports the bee theory claims that Napoleon permitted the people of Laguiole to use a bee on the city's coat of arms as a reward for their bravery. However, no written evidence has ever confirmed this story. The debate among Laguiole enthusiasts continues to this day. It's also a matter of personal preference. The bee (or fly) is not the only motif adorning the spring. In our online store, for instance, you can find our collectible knife adorned with a clover (a symbol of good luck), our Laguiole knife featuring a Saint James scallop shellknife with the Cathar Cross (originating from Aude, the heartland of the Cathar lords and castles that witnessed crusades).