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The Bolo Tie / 1900’s Fashion Still Leaving It’s Mark in the West

Worn across the Western United States since the early 1900s, bolo ties began as a Native American accessory before becoming the well-loved official state neckwear of the state of Arizona.

While the exact origin of the bolo tie is uncertain, we do know that some of the most intricate and beautiful pieces have been made by Native American silversmiths. Some of the earliest bolo ties sprung up in the 1930s when Native American men from the Zuni, Hopi and Navajo tribes often wore bandanas around their necks. These bandanas were first held together with string, and later with shell-like structures; the first bolo ties.

Created for personal use rather than trade, as are many types of Native American jewelry, early bolo ties did not typically include artist signatures and are rare antiques. These bolo ties are recognizable for their inlaid turquoise stones and detailed silversmith work.

Since the 1930s, there have been a variety of changes and adaptations to the bolo tie, and it has gone in and out of modern fashion – always remaining a staple to the Native American people and many other individuals who live across the Southwest.

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