Vintage or Antique bolo ties are highly collectible and they make the perfect gift. There is something elegant about bolo ties especially ones with age and character. Vintage accessories are truly in a class by themselves. And while bolos (or bolas, as they are sometimes called) are traditionally thought of as cowboy attire, it was Native American jewelers and silversmiths in particular who brought sophistication to this wearable art form whose acknowledged antecedent was a metal scarf slide worn by both Native American and Anglo men in the late 1890s and early 1900s.
Bolo ties have been around in the West for decades, although perhaps not in a prolific, public way. “They’re out there and even if nobody talked a lot about them, people wore them, often as evening dress-up attire,” Sandfield says. “People may not remember what the tie is called, but there frequently is a bolo buried in their closet. I tell them—take it out, dust it off, and wear it with pride.”
Bolo ties, representing the casual nature and somewhat rugged milieu of the West, emerged as a form of men’s neckwear in the 1940s. They directly countered business suits as well as the formality suits represented, and instead marked a different style and a different way of life. In particular, American Indian jewelers and silversmiths brought individuality and creativity to this art form, offering a broad range of unique and artistic options.
Western wear, including the bolo tie, was popularized through 1950s television shows and movies. Some TV and movie personalities who brought scarf slides and bolo ties into the everyday vernacular include the Cisco Kid, Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers. Bolo ties have been created by American Indian jewelers since the late 1940s and they continue to create them today.
Nevertheless, bolo ties were haute couture in Western movies and mid-century TV shows, and through the decades have become a major expression of Native American artists including Charles Loloma, Hopi, and Norbert Peshlakai, Navajo. Bolo ties remain popular, and are even re-invented in unique mediums such as glass and ceramics. Be sure to attend the opening reception on June 28th bedecked in your favorite bolos – the more, the merrier!
Bolo Ties: Statement Pieces of the Southwest Video