AROUND HOME : Never a Dull Moment

WHY WOULD a company make a ceramic knife? At first, it doesn’t sound like a very good idea. But consider this particular clay. Ceramic zirconia is almost as hard as diamonds, it can’t gather rust or corrode, and it doesn’t react to acids. Make it into a blade, and you have a lightweight knife that never needs sharpening.

That is why the people at Gold Mine Natural Food Co. in San Diego sell the knife. Known more for its line of healthful comestibles than it is for state-of-the-art kitchen technology, the company is now marketing Kyocera knives imported from Japan.

The Kyocera knives come in four sizes, with blades of white or graphite-black. There are two with 6-inch blades--one with a black blade ($185) and one with a white blade ($148); each has a black-natural-wood laminated handle. A 5 1/2-inch white-bladed knife with a molded-plastic handle in red, light gray, black or midnight blue is $85. The fruit knife, with a 4-inch blade ($60), comes with a white blade and black molded-plastic handle.

They’re not cheap. On the other hand, just think of all the time and money saved because the knife never dulls and so doesn’t need to be sharpened. Not to mention how thrilled those who travel around toting their own knives are going to be when they discover how light this knife is.

Kyocera ceramic zirconia knives are available through mail order from Gold Mine Natural Food Co., 1947 30th St., San Diego 92102; telephone (800) 647-2927.