The Unicorn

Unicorns. That mythical beast revered by Europeans. It was believed that powdered unicorn horn was an antidote to any poison and noblemen would keep a supply of the substance in case they were poisoned by their enemies. The Vikings were savvy businessmen. These Northern Europeans hunted narwhals, the sea mammal with the very long, spiraled tooth. Because this tooth resembled what the nobles thought a unicorns horn looked like, it was easy for the Vikings to convince them that it was indeed unicorn horn and sell it to them at exorbitant prices. This “unicorn horn” was the most valuable item in the world. Worth more by weight than pure gold. In the end, the princes had their unicorn horn and the Vikings had a big bag of gold – and all were happy!

My customer wanted a folding dagger to depict both animals, the narwhal and the unicorn. The knife was laid out so that, with the blade open, the inlaid, gold horn was properly oriented to the animal at the front of the handle. I made the blade from damascus and carved the horn from 14k gold. The liners are titanium, the bolsters behind the animal heads are bronze, the scales are “unicorn horn” held in place by 14k gold screws made in my shop. The spine is stainless steel. Ray Cover carved the animal heads from 14k gold plate and they are attached by gold screws that I made and are flushed down and hidden. Ray engraved scrolls in the bolsters and accented them with fine gold inlay. To complete the project Ray engraved  a unicorn standing on the shore looking at a narwhal in the sea along the spine. Our maker’s marks are inside the knife on the spine.