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The sword knot began existence as a simple cord attached to the hilt of the sword of a mounted soldier. The knot is in fact, a loop usually made out of leather, or other material.
Before engagement with the enemy the soldier wraps the loop around his wrist to prevent the loss of his sword, which can happen either in the heat of the battle or if he needs to relax his group in order to steady his mount.
In more recent years the sword knot has gradually evolved to become a more ornamental and decorative piece of uniform regalia. The design of it has also changed such that it now features a double strap which is also attached to the sword guard and wrapped around the hilt when not attached to the wrist.
There are two main types of sword knots: full dress and active service. The sword knot used for active service features a plain buff leather strap, while the full dress versions are usually more elaborate creations made from gold and silver cord with decorative tassels for that final added flourish.
In recent years there has been a demand for good quality sword knots from museums and collectors, while there are only a few original sword knots for sale.