Opinel is a company that has manufactured and marketed a line of self-named wooden-handled knives since 1890 from its headquarters in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, Savoie, France—where the family-run company also operates a museum dedicated to its knives. The company sells approximately 15 million knives annually. The Opinel knives are all made of the highest quality Sandvik steel from Sweden. The knives are available in high carbon steel and stainless steel. Opinel knives are also famous for being able to float in water.
Originally sold as a working man’s knife, an Opinel knife has become emblematic of French culture, with Pablo Picasso reportedly using one of the company’s knives as a sculpting tool. In 1989, the Larousse dictionary cited “Opinel” as a registered trademark—and in the French language, the term “Opinel” has become a genericized trademark to refer to any wood handled pocket or penknife, not necessarily only those made by the company.