Bolo ties date back to the 1890s, but were found more commonly throughout the 1930s where Native American men needed something to hold their bandanas around their necks. Bolo ties, or slip ties, have various styles and materials used in their creation. Within Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni culture, silversmiths began to create sterling silver pennants with inlaid turquoise stones to be worn around the men’s necks. This silverwork was stressed through intricate detail and metal work around the clasps and tie. In the Great Plains, Native Americans incorporated shells and metal medallions into their ties, creating a dynamic and impressive style varying from those in the Southwest.
The bolo tie is comprised of a braided cord usually made from leather that wraps around the wearer’s neck and looping back through the ornamental clasp or clip. The aglets of the braid are often decorated with intricate metal tips adding beauty to the neck piece. Originally, bolo ties were solely made for personal use, but as time progressed, Western culture adapted the style of bolo ties and began to mass produce them, marketing them as “Slip Ties.”
Allen, Lee. “Heard Museum Spotlights Native American Bolo Ties.” Indian Country Media Network, 6 Dec. 2011. Web. https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/heard-museum-spotlights-native-american-bolo-ties/.