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”)

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]

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]

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    

Signed Mark Chee Navajo Native American Sterling Silver Turquoise Bolo Tie VtgVtg Old Pawn Navajo Squash Blossom Bear Sterling Silver Turquoise Coral Bolo TieOld Pawn Ed & Pablita Quam Zuni Sterling Silver & Inlay Rainbow Man Bolo Tie J Vtg Old Dead Pawn Tsosie Tufa Cast Sterling Silver Turquoise Navajo Bolo Tie Vintage Edward H Bohlin Made Sterling Longhorn Bull Western Bolo Tie SlideOld Pawn Navajo Handmade Sterling Malachite Bolo Tie W/squash Blossom Tips | PsFantastic Colorful Native American Navajo Sterling Silver .925 Inlaid Bolo TieVintage Navajo Sterling Silver Kings Manassa Turquoise Bolo TieMuseum Vintage Navajo Green Spiderweb Turquoise Silver Bolo Tie OldOld Pawn Zuni Sterling Silver Turquoise Coral Shell Inlay Knifewing Bolo Tie | JVtg Zuni Indian Large Heavy Cast Sterling Silver Blue Turquoise Stone Bolo TieZuni~johnathan Beyuka~sterling~multi Inlay~eagle Dancer Kachina~bolo TieHandmade Hopi Sterling Silver & Black Leather Cord Bird Overlay Bolo Tie Sterling Silver Bolo Slide With Two Sterling Silver Tie Tips***Vintage Navajo Kachina Turquoise & Sterling Silver Bolo & Leather Tie - K 2397Large Bennett Sterling Silver,turquoise& Red Coral Bolo Tie W/sterling TipsSigned Bennie Bowekaty Native American Sterling Silver Turquoise Bear Bolo Tie3d Vintage Old Pawn Navajo G.s.n.m Sterling Horse Stallion Bolo TieOld Pawn Sterling Silver Heavy Bolo Tie W/ Turquoise Stone *49.9 Grams*Old Pawn Vintage Navajo Handmade Sterling Bisbee Turquoise Bolo TieVtg Native American Style Sterling Silver Inlaid Thunderbird Bolo Tie Pendant Vintage Native American Knife Wing (bennett C-31) .999% Fine Silver Bolo TieVintage Sterling Silver & Turquoise Bolo Western Tie Clip Signed Ll 20.5gVintage Navajo Sterling Silver Turquoise Bear Paw Bolo Tie By "srn" | J BaVintage Southwestern Sterling Silver Repousse Concho Concha Bolo Tie Vintage Sterling Silver Katila Taxco Mexican Ollin Bolo Tie W/ Aztec GlyphHancrafted Silver Southwest Native American Bolo Tie With Turquoise & CoralOld Pawn Estate Sterling Silver Turquoise & Coral Inlaid Bolo Tie SouthwesternExcellent Bronze Bolo Tie Of A Bear By Renown Artist Sandy ScottSilver Native Buckle And Bolo Tie Stones TurquoiseShen24 925 Vintage Sterling Silver Heavy Bennett Bolo Tie Turquoise Coral 57.6gBolo Tie, Navajo Silver And Bisbee Turquoise With Brown MatrixLot Vtg Men's Jewelry Cuff Links Tie Tacks Bolos Swank SterlingLot Of Western Design Bolo Cowboy Ties Nice Styles & Designs Lovely Sterling Silver Native American Bolo Tie Necklace Bird W/ Various StonesVintage Bolo TieVtg Southwestern Bolo Tie Adorn W/ Red Coral Beautiful Turquoise Silver AppliqueVintage Handcrafted Silver Southwest Native American Bolo Tie With Turquoise Vintage Zuni Indian Sterling Silver Inlaid Turquoise Zuni Sun God Bolo TieVintage Southwest Sterling Silver & 10k Fritch Bros.state Map Texas Concho BoloVintage 7 Bolo Tie Assortment #3Lot Of 8 Bolo Ties 1000 Peso- Kansas- Stone- Horse- Initial "g"Southwestern Style Estate Silver And Turquoise Pettipoint Bolo TieVtg Southwestern Sterling Silver Cloud Squash Blossom Necklace Bolo Tie EarringsBolo Tie W Silver Plating, Old New, 1984, Leather Cord W Silver TipsThree Real Nice Vintage Western Style Bolo Slide Ties Horse, Arrow Faux CabachonVintage Stamped Concho Leather Cord Sterling Silver 925 Bolo Tie 33inHarley Davidson Sterling Silver Bolo Vintage 1994 Southwestern Rare New NosVtg Old Pawn Turquoise Bolo Cowboy Western Indian Arrowhead Gem Stone Neck TieOld Western Cowboy Scarf Bandana Slide Tie Bolo Rodeo Bucking BroncoVintage Signed Stamped Sterling Silver & Malachite Bolo TieVintage 1940's 925 Sterling Silver Native American Black Leather Men's Bolo Tie Lots Ranch Belt, Belt Buckles, Pewter Bolo TieVintage Pasadena Jewelry Copper Indian Arrowhead Horse Bolo Tie= Black Leather Vintage Lapidary Agate Stone Lucky Horseshoe Bolo Tie.Vogt Sterling Silver Hand Engraved Concho And Hand Braided Leather Bolo TieVintage Hopi Kachina Indian Snake Dancer Bolo Tie Signed Sancrest Silver Sterling Silver Bolo Tie Slide Turquoise Western Indian Cowboy Amercian 14.69gShbbt2 925 Vintage Sterling Silver Bolo Tie Cactus Coyote Ben J Chavez 18.6gramsVintage 7 Bolo Tie Assortment #1