Bolo Tie Cord - 8mm? What?

Hello Sage Ones,
I have a dilemma and can find very little information on it. I am hoping to glean some insight from you wonderful people who are experts in SW jewelry. I went to Santa Fe in Sept '23. ALL of the bolo ties I saw in the galleries everywhere there and in Taos were on 8mm diameter leather cord. What??? I have always used 4mm braided cord but this super fat stuff blew me away and I have never seen it before on bolos. What is your take on it? I am selling mostly in Colorado. If this is the new trend then I guess I need to jump on but IS IT? I haven’t seen it anywhere else nor in many of the online photos, just a few. I am making a high-end bolo and am tempted to use the 8mm but am torn, I’m so used to seeing the 4mm! Any input is welcome. I need to make my friction rings but don’t know which size to make, LOL.

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In the 1980’s and 90’s I made a lot of bolo ties. Most of the cords that I used were leather cords from Rio Grande. At some point, I found some folks that made custom braided horse hair cords. They were beautiful, but much thicker (6-8 mm) and a lot more expensive. That raised the price of the bolo ties substantially and they didn’t sell as well as the ones with thinner, less expensive leather cords.

I don’t know what current trends are in western jewelry? Can you ask folks in New Mexico and Colorado galleries or wherever you are selling your work? They’ll know and hopefully can give you good advice.

Sorry I’m not more help!!


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I will wear a bolo now and then at shows or bands jobs. Hans Meixner, our Dad, almost always wore one. I think Rob has posted a picture. I used to buy the occasional lanyard from Rio but I always thought that they were too short.

My lanyards are plain 1/4-5/16". Latigo strips with a wider, flat, mud section that would lie under the collar. If there is color it is black dye on one side, a natural or reddish dye on the other. No braids. The tips are silver twists or none at all. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more bolos out and about.

Don Meixner

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Hi Don,

…what type of horn(?) is that?…very handsome pue e


I live in New Mexico between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. I don’t see many (any?) thick bolo cords - on bolos. Bracelets around here are another story. I see lots of 8mm cords made into bracelets and make those as well. They are popular with men. Santa Fe Jewelry Supply sells very nice 8mm braided leather cord but it only comes in black. As you said, it is more expensive.

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Thanks for your answer and advice Jeff. Nobody in galleries around here, which I am in, seem to have any of the fat bolos but they are aware of them. None of their patrons have been asking for them either, apparently. In the shops on Santa Fe Plaza and pretty much anywhere in old town, that’s all they were showing! Same thing in Taos. I had never seen any until then. Your experience with the fatter cord not selling as well is interesting. I decided to go with my gut and put 4mm on my piece.

Thanks for your reply Don. You or your brother posted this photo a few years back when I was asking for insight on making my own bolo tips, LOL. I LOVE this piece! I am trying to revive a bolo trend around here. I think I’m sticking with 4mm for now.

Thanks for the info Linodes. Maybe only the touristy jewelry stores are carrying the thick cord bolos? Take a quick looksee in pretty much any jewelry store in old town Santa Fe and fat bolo cords is all you will see! I was so surprised when I was there in September. I also saw many of the bracelets. Very cool, I understand why they are popular!

Check with Taos Leather they make the kind of bolo tie leathers you are looking for at least they did a couple of years ago I have purchased them a couple of time . I can drop by this week to double check for you.


Thank you knicdesigns! They have EXACTLY what I was seeing in SF, with the flat part around the neck. I will call them. I am feeling the need to make a bolo tie befitting of a neck cord like THIS! They have nice colors too! Thanks again for the tip.


I just did a search online for bulk 8mm braided bolo and found lots of hits. I am not sure if this is what you are looking for…Rob

I’ll check that out next time I’m in Santa Fe and Old Town Albuquerque too. I’ll let you know what I find.

I have been making bolo ties now for about 10 years. I have always used 5 mm leather woven cord for my bolo’s. A lapidary club I belonged to in the past had a member who used 8mm bolo cord for his bolo’s that he made but the bolo’s were quite large which looked good with the 8mm cord. The 5 mm cord would have looked to stringy and undersized in my opinion. I buy my leather goods for my jewelry making from BraceletStreetUSA on Etsy.

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When I need any type of cord that is not leather I always get it here. Made on turn-of-the-century restored equipment.


I was in old town Albuquerque today and walked through a handful of shops that I know carry jewelry. I saw a few bolos with large lanyards, 8mm or larger. Yes, there absolutely were some lanyards thicker than 8mm - kind of blew my mind. Here’s the catch, the larger lanyards were definitely in the minority. I would say there was one thick lanyard to 50 or more 4mm lanyards. And that ratio didn’t vary from store to store.

I’m looking forward to my next trip up to Santa Fe and doing the same thing there. I will say that I think of Santa Fe’s old town shops as tending to carry more contemporary styles than what’s in old town Albuquerque. It will be interesting.


Knicdesigns, I ended up ordering two of their 8mm lanyards with the flat necks. I can’t wait to use them! Thanks so much for leading me to them. Very nice people.

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