Vintage Carved Number 8 Turquoise Feather Bolo Tie by Clarence Bailon of Santo Domingo Pueblo

$1,000.00 $1,250.00

This vintage bolo tie is made with a large, gorgeous, and natural blue-green turquoise stone that has been hand-carved into a feather and set in a sterling silver bezel. The turquoise color is beautiful, with rusty golden colored swatches throughout. Turquoise with this matrix is recognizable as coming from the Number 8 mine in the Eureka County town of Carlin, Nevada. Along with mines such as Bisbee, Morenci, and Sleeping Beauty, Number 8 is one of the most sought-after high-grade American turquoise stones. The first claim on the Number 8 mine was made in 1925, and by 1976, that mine had closed for turquoise. The take, however, from the last mining was so huge that you can sometimes find new pieces with this turquoise, although nothing as substantial as that found in this bolo tie! The piece was made by Santo Domingo Pueblo artist Clarence Bailon, who is patriarch of a jewelry making family that spans at least three generations. Santo Domingo are the oldest jewelry makers in the Southwest region, and their work is mainly with stones and shells. Hence, it's not surprising that this is a Santo Domingo piece, as it is almost all about the stone. Many Santo Domingo pieces don't even use silver, so it's also not surprising that the silver bezel on this bolo is minimalist, serving simply to hold the incredible feather. The slider (main part of the bolo) has a hoop pass-through closure on the back and carries the artist's hallmark and a sterling stamp. That double-loop closure style was common up to the mid-1960s, when it was replaced by the Bennett clasp. Hence, we can date the bolo tie to circa 1950s to 60s. It is part of a collection belonging to a Colorado father and son; the father started collecting in the 1940s, and the son followed his dad's footsteps and started his collection in the 1960s. They both bought pieces on trips throughout the Southwest—for themselves and for the women in their lives--and they often purchased directly from artists at markets in Taos, Santa Fe, Santo Domingo Pueblo, and the Four Corners area, getting to know the makers. One family member recalled that her father and grandfather would pull the car over for any artist selling roadside. Note that the letters CB in a hallmark belong to more than one silversmith/maker, and there many pieces on the market said to be made by Bailon that are mis-attributed as they are not a Santo Domingo style piece of jewelry.

The bolo slider measures about 2-3/4" tall by a little over 1" wide at the widest point. The black leather lariat measures about 47-1/2" including tips, so plan on a hang length of about 22" more or less, depending on the girth of the neck. Weighs a substantial 62g. Original silver tips are very tarnished and some tarnish on the silver bezel back. Given the age, I would not recommend polishing the silver.

A versatile necktie, sure to be passed down for generations.


Note that due to lighting plus monitor settings for brightness, contrast and other factors, there may be differences in the colors and tones of photos versus that of the actual item. Please message with questions and I will respond as soon as possible.


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