Thunderbird bolo tie clasp by A;shiwi artist Oliver Cellicion
This bolo tie with a thunderbird design was made by A:shiwi artist Oliver Cellicion (1913-1996). The thunderbird slide features silver channel inlay with jet, shell, and turquoise. Channel inlay is closely associated with Southwest Native American jewelry, particularly with jewelry from Zuni Pueblo. To create channel inlay jewelry, the artist sets precisely cut stones into pre-formed silver channels. It requires mastery of silversmithing and lapidary skills.
Generally worn by men, a bolo tie is a type of neckwear consisting of a cord, usually of braided leather, with decorative metal tips (called aiguillettes) that is secured by an ornamental clasp or slide. Bolo ties as we know them today became popular in the 1930s or 40s. Their origins remain debated, but their inspiration may lie in the silver clasps worn by A:shiwi, Diné, and Hopi men in the early 1900s to fasten bandanas around their necks. Today, they are closely associated with Native American and Western American culture and have been designated as the official neckwear of New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.