Native American Bolos
While it is true that Native American bolos are a gorgeous addition to a Southwestern style, there was an original purpose to these ties other than simply fashion. Bolos originated with South American cowboys, who used them as an alternative to ties. These bolos would hold the cowboys shirts together, protecting them from the dust and dirt of the open range as the hands managed their herds of cows between destinations. As the styles of these indigenous people were carried northward by Spanish explorers, the bolo made its way to the American Southwest.
Southwestern Native Americans, such as the Pueblos and the Navajos, began incorporating bolos into their attire during the nineteenth century, with some traditional alterations. Because Southwestern adornments so often included turquoise, these Native American groups included this natural stone on many of their bolos. Usually, the bolos were made of leather with sterling silver accents, giving them a true Southwestern flair.
During the 1950s, the Native American bolo became a very popular part of mens attire in the Southwest. Even businessmen who wore traditional suits during their workday would add a Native American bolo in place of a silk tie. Although the popularity of the bolo waned a bit during the latter part of the 20th century, there has been a definite reemergence of the bolo along with a resurgence of adherence to traditional attire. Many people from all over the world are beginning to discover the beauty of Native American bolos.
Todays bolos vary in how intricate their patterns are. Some display tribal symbols or other images that reflect a particular group or religion. Others are a simple stone (usually a turquoise, onyx, or coral) set in a sterling silver background. With a bit of searching, you can generally find a Native American artisan who has designed a bolo that perfectly fits your personality and taste.
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