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The History of the Sgian Dubh

A sgian dubh is usually one of the most exciting accessories for our customers to choose when purchasing their outfit. Whether an accessory for your own outfit or to give as a gift, we have a wide range of different sgian dubhs to choose from – meaning there is one to suit any style, occasion or outfit! Sgian dubhs come in all shapes and sizes, and can be as subtle or extravagant as you wish it to be.

The word ‘sgian dubh’ comes from Scottish Gaelic: ‘sgian’ means knife, dagger or blade and ‘dubh’ means black, therefore translating to ‘black blade.’ Although a sgian dubh is still considered a key part of any Highlandwear outfit, today it is worn as a decoration rather than the multipurpose tool it was once used for by Scottish Highlanders. Originally, a sgian dubh was used for preparing and cutting fruits, meat, bread and cheese; as well as an essential tool for more general day-to-day uses such as cutting materials, hunting and protection. This accessory was crucial for survival, and is now a symbolic element of Scottish traditional dress.

A sgian dubh should be worn in the top of your sock, on the same side as your most dominant hand. Although the accessories that make up a traditional kilt outfit do not hold the same purpose as they once did to Scottish Highlanders, the full outfit is still traditionally worn in the same way as in the past. The top of the sgian dubh handle should stick out the top of your sock, meaning that it would be easily accessible if you were caught in a situation and needed protection.

A real sgian dubh can only legally be on your person when you are dressed in the full Highlandwear outfit. The real blade can also make it a bit of a difficult accessory to take with you if you are travelling; therefore, alongside our range of real sgian dubhs we also offer a variety of replicas. This is a sgian dubh with no blade and is in fact completely plastic.

At MacGregor and MacDuff, we ensure a range of options to make your outfit fit to your own personal style and this only begins with our extensive sgian dubh range. From different handles, leather sheaths and intricate detailing; a sgian dubh is the perfect way to complete your kilt outfit.