The bolo or bola tie, as it’s variously known, is a fairly recent addition to men’s formal clothing, invented some time in the 1940s by a Wickenburg, Arizona, silversmith named Victor Cedarstaff. Taking its name from a type of Argentinian rope called the boleadora, the bolo tie consists a small braided lariat-like cord that’s secured around the neck by a decorative clasp.

Silver usually decorates the tips of the cord, and the braids are often made of multicolored strands, but it’s the clasp that captures most of the attention of artisans and jewelers. In keeping with its Southwest origins, Native American jewelers make bolos out of sterling silver set with blue turquoise, red coral, and other semi-precious stones. Agates and beads are also used.

Some men’s-clothing purists question whether the bolo tie is a tie at all. In 2005, for example, a 17-year-old high school senior in Montana was denied his diploma because he wore a bolo tie to his graduation ceremony rather than a tradition cravat made of silk or (shudder) polyester. The state’s governor rushed to the lad’s defense, declaring, “In Montana and anyplace in Indian country, a bolo tie is dressed up... a tie is a tie." In fact, in 1971, the state of Arizona had already made the bola tie (as it’s spelled there) its official state neckwear. New Mexico followed suit in 2007.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Black Tie Guide

The Black Tie Guide

Peter Marshall became an authority on formalwear out of necessity — he needed a tux to wear on the maiden transat… [read review or visit site]

Anna Checcoli's homage to the beauty and art of hand fans ('ventagli,' in Italian). Use the left-hand nav to browse… [read review or visit site]

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

The Fashion Columbia Study Collection (FCSC) is the digital home of the Columbia College Chicago’s fashion archiv… [read review or visit site]

Dr. David Fleishman's comprehensive spectacles site (over 3500 images), in collaboration with museums around the wo… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Old Pawn Navajo Vintage Thick Green Boulder Turquoise Sterling Silver Bolo TieNavajo Sterling Silver & Royston Turquoise Snake Bolo Tie Jane Popovich | RsLawrence Saufkie Hopi Bolo Neck Tie Long Claw Bear Paw Hallmarked SterlingVintage Preston Monongye Hopi Sterling Silver & Turquoise Bolo ClaspInteresting Vintage Stylized Sterling Silver & Turquoise Bolo Bola TieSterling Silver & Turquoise Native American Foot Bolo Tie Bennett Pat. PendingHopi Sterling Turquoise Roadrunner Bolo TieSouthwestern Sterling Silver & Turquoise Bolo Tie Vintage Navajo Benjamin Becenti Sterling Stone Inlay Bald Eagle Bolo Tie 46 Gram925 Sterling Red Coral And Turquoise Bolo Tie Pendant Signed B.g.m On BackNavajo Sterling Silver Black Onyx Bolo TieSterling Silver Turquoise Bolo Black Leather Rope Tie Artist SignedMen's Bolo Tie W/ Sterling Silver Jewelry Bolo Blue Green StoneNative American Signed Cj Sterling Silver Turquoise Bolo Tie With Sterling Tips Vintage Southwestern Sterling Silver Bolo Tie Necklace Tips Lot 3pr Nos Old PawnEarly Navajo Sterling Silver High Grade Turquoise Bolo TieVintage Indian Navajo Sterling Silver Turquoise Bolo Tie 18 GramVintage~navajo~sterling Silver~multi Stone Inlay~thunderbird~bolo Tie~pendantNavajo Ben Shiley Malachite Black Leather Oval Sterling 925 Bolo Tie (26g) 36inTaxco Mid Century Cast Sterling Azurite Pre Colombian Mask Bolo TieTurquoise Silver Gents Southwest Design Bolo TieP & P Natachu Zuni Sterling Silver 925 Bolo Tie With Mosaic Inlay Signed 8676-10Vintage Hopi Koyemsi Mudhead Bolo Tie Sterling Silver Willie Archie TalaheftewaSterling Silver Bolo Tie / 40" Leather Necklace /.925 Hand Holding Rose / DovesZuni Sun God Bolo Tie Sterling Silver Inlay Turquoise Jet Mop Coral Rattle Snake Hat Band,bolo Tie,and Knife ScabbardTurquoise Stones Set In Sterling Silver Bolo Tie Tips - Unique PiecePueblo Sterling Silver Natural Opal Bolo TieNative American Navajo Amazing Gem Turquoise And Silver Bolo Tie Signed M.d.Perlene Spencer Navajo Sterling Silver Turquoise Bear Claw Bolo TieNavajo Sterling Silver Agate Bolo TieFabulous Vintage Signed Sterling & Coral Navajo Bolo TieNative American 925 Sterling Silver Multi Gemstone Bolo Tie Clip 6.7gEarly Zuni Sterling Multi Gemstone Inlay Thunderbird Bolo TieVintage Zuni Turquoise Bolo Tie Dancer Stone Inlay Native AmericanNative American 925 Silver Naturalistic Turquoise & Coral Bolo Tie Clip 14.8gLot Of Mens Jewelry Van Heusen Tie Clip Cuff Links Pocket Watch Bolo TieVintage Native American Navajo Style Gorgeous Gem Turquoise And Silver Bolo TieFab Mosaic Inlay Sterling Bolo Tie--signed!Large Vintage Navajo 925 Silver Natural Turquoise Coral Long Feathers Bolo TieBeautiful Vintage Sterling Silver And Turquoise Bolo Tie Beautiful Vintage Taxco Mexico Roped Sterling Silver 925 Money Clip (11.2g)Sterling Ram's Head Bolo Tie ~ Sid Bell Originals Wildlife ArtistJ3856 Vintage Pawn Navajo *e.l.b.* Sterling Coral Turquoise Onyx Etc.. Bolo Tie Rare Early Old Zuni 925 Silver Oyster Turquoise Coral Eagle Bolo Tie NecklaceZuni Bolo TieClassic Vintage Zuni Sunface W/ Headdress Multi-color Inlay Sterling Bolo Signed 2 Navajo Sterling & Turquoise Bolo Tie Marked SterlingVintage Turquoise Stone And Silver Plate Bolo TieSouthwestern Bolo Tie With Blue Stone Likely TurquoiseLot Of Mens Jewelry Bolo Ties Belt Buckles Pocket Knife Cufflinks Tie TacksVintage Silver & Turquoise Bolo Tie Signed CrSterling Silver 10k Gold Bolo Tie Cowboy Boot With Horse Shoe And SpurNavajo Silver And Turquoise Bolo Tie Signed O.g. Peyote Bird Stamped Design *202Vintage Navajo Sleeping Beauty Turquoise & Sterling Bolo Tie Signed ScVtg Native American Navajo Old Pawn Sterling Silver Bear Paw Bolo TieVintage Gold Nugget Miner Prospector Bolo Tie Shovel Pick Ax Sifting Pan BlackVintage.. Bolo Tie ...turquoise Stone Slide... Mens Jewelry.. Estate Large Vintage Effie C Zuni Turquoise Sterling Silver Bolo Tie W/ Pendant TipsNavajo Bolo Tie-signed Eula Mae Begay Sterling Silver Sleeping Beauty Turquoise