What is a Bolo Tie?
A Bolo Tie is kind of a cross between a necktie and a necklace. They are often made with a braided leather cord with decorative metal tips on the ends. The focus of the Bolo Tie is a slide that features a decorative item like a stone cabochon, a beaded rosette, a silver concho, or other items that have a flat back that can be attached to the slide.
Bolo Ties – History
The name Bolo Tie (or Bola Tie) was derived from the Argentinian word boleadora which is a form of hunting weapon that is made with a cord with weights attached to it. The origins of Bolo Ties are unclear. The earliest known examples come from the 1940s in the United States. Their style is similar to neck scarves with slides on them (to keep the scarf from blowing off) that were worn by cowboys.
Today, Bolo Ties are unquestionably associated with the Southwestern United States. Some states have proclaimed Bolo Ties their official neckwear. A large percentage of Bolo Ties in the United States are created by Native American artists from Southwestern tribes like the Hopi and Navajo, as well as the Lakota, and Native Americans from Alaska. The Bolo Ties made by each of these groups feature their own distinct styles and materials.
Make Your Own Bolo Ties
At The Wandering Bull – Native American Trading Post, look at our Jewelry Findings section. You will find supplies to make your own Bolo Ties. We offer Braided Leather Bolo Cord that is 36” long in two diameters, 1/8” Bolo Cord and 3/16” Bolo Cord (nearly ¼”). Our Bolo Tips come in two styles, a simple rounded 1” long Bolo Tip and a Stamped Tapered Bolo Tip that is 1.25” long. The 1” Rounded Bolo Tip fits well on the 1/8” Bolo Cord and the 1.25” Stamped Bolo Tip works with the 3/16” Bolo Cord.
The Wandering Bull – Native American Trading Post also has two Bolo Slides to choose from. The basic Round Slide has a 1/2” base for your cabochon or rosette and slides onto the Bolo Cord. The Rectangular Slide has a 7/8” base with a hole in the center and a clamp back to hold the slide in place at the level you want.
Putting together a Bolo Tie is as easy as gluing your decorative feature to the Bolo Slide base. Add your concho, rosette or cabochon to the slide with a strong adhesive (The Wandering Bull – Native American Trading Post sells E600 Adhesive). Once you have chosen the Bolo Tip style that you want and the appropriate diameter Bolo Cord, slide each end of the Bolo Cord through the Bolo Slide, then attach the Bolo Tips to the ends. Finished!