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Quimbaya Gold Necklace

Quimbaya Gold Necklace

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Quimbaya Gold Artifacts

According to mainstream archeology, the pre-columbian Quimbaya culture were believed to live in South America from 300 to 1550 CE and are best known for their precise gold and metalwork. The majority of gold pieces discovered are made with a tumbaga alloy with 30% copper, very similar to those accounts mentioned by Plato in his dialogues about the lost city of Atlantis. Among the intricate gold works are several types of insects and two devices that stand out to be aerodynamic in nature and shaped like no other insect known to exist. The ancient pieces look very much like the designs of modern airplanes and incorporate a number of features essentially proving the Quimbaya knew and understood principles of flight. Scale replicas of the golden flyer were built five times larger and tested precisely. Results from testing in 1994 proved these ancient mysterious airplane shaped devices were capable of flight, and actually flew very well without any sort of modifications using modern techniques.

Modern researchers have mixed beliefs about the Quimbaya civilization, and their presumed knowledge of flight based on gold artifacts. There are arguments regarding this theory over the lack of building materials necessary to make flying machines hundreds of years ago along with the absence of modern engines, and that landing strips for the golden fliers have not been discovered. It's entirely possible for artifacts to be moved around from place to place in the ancient world, especially if they fell victim to a more dominate people, or the cultures migrated for survival over time. The artifacts do exist, and they might help clarify another interesting ancient phenomena not too far from where the Quimbaya once lived. Certain parts of the Nazca lines are believed by some researchers to resemble ancient runways. Quimbaya golden artworks were often buried with the dead as a token necessary for prosperity in the afterlife. Examining the cache of available artifacts it becomes evident the Quimbaya created artworks based on interpretations of real objects and people. The golden airplanes could be evidence of an ancient culture's knowledge of flight well before modern times - Or they could represent of an extinct species of insects.

There is also an alternative concept to consider with artifacts such as the Golden Flyer, be it through cultural influence from an outside civilization. Today we find a distinctly intriguing phenomena which takes place after a remote culture is visited for the first time with modern technology present. Isolated tribes visited in both Africa and South America by airplane have both demonstrated shifts in religious beliefs after the visit. One of the tribes welcomed the plane on its second visit with ceremonial fire and statues constructed in the shape of the airplane. Tribes people even went so far as to line themselves along a runway path to greet the visitors. If remote cultures exhibit this sort of behavior during the world's modern technological era, then likely the same concept has played out before. From this angle of thinking, theories then suggest the Quimbaya may have been influenced by another ancient culture, or perhaps, some sort of alien civilization.

Quimbaya Artifacts – Advanced Technology or Abstract Art

The Quimbaya artifacts are a group of small gold pieces found in Colombia, South America and crafted by the Quimbaya people. The overtly stylized gold objects measure between 2″ and 3″, with each piece customized to a unique look. Researchers have classified them as depictions of lizards, butterflies, birds, and insects common to the area, yet it’s unmistakable that they also look like many of our modern-day flying machines some complete with tail rudders and propellers. The existence of so many similarities to modern-day airplanes supports the “out of place artifact” theory – they seem far too advanced for the Quimbaya. Even though the Quimbaya produced many different types of gold objects, most of the attention is focused on the ones which appear too advanced for their early civilization.

Out of Place Artifacts

An Out of Place Artifact is one that challenges the historical record in some way, shape or form. These can be items which seem too advanced for a particular civilization or in some cases, items which show a human presence, when no humans were supposed to exist. The term is rarely used by scientists or archeologists, but widely accepted by those who believe in ancient astronaut scenarios, students of the paranormal, and UFO enthusiasts. The scientific community has refuted many claims and shown many items to be hoaxes, such as the Tuscon artifacts or the Calaveras Skull but there are some which are still impossible to connect to the time period they are associated with.

Origins of the Quimbaya Artifacts

One of the difficulties with proper classification of these items comes from the fact that they weren’t discovered through normal archeological processes. They were looted in the late 1800’s from an area known as the Central Cauca Valley. Archeologists have theorized that the items came from two tombs, but cannot say so with 100% certainty. The current collection of 123 items only exists because someone turned them into the Colombian authorities. It’s almost certain that many similar items from the region exist in private collections throughout the world.

The Quimbaya Civilization

The Quimbaya civilization inhabited the areas around the Cauca River Valley on the western slopes of the Andes mountains. There is no clear evidence that pinpoints when the Quimbaya came into being, however most researchers agree it was sometime in the 1st Century BC. They were expert hunters, grew many different and diverse crops, fished, and had many industries including gold mining and goldsmithing. The Quimbaya civilization reached it’s peak in the period between the 4th and 7th Century AD . Spanish Conquistadors began to colonize Columbia in 1509 which led to the end of the Quimbaya period.

The people were known for their spectacular gold work with highly detailed and unique designs. What makes their work unique is the fact that most pieces were made with an alloy of gold and copper. The Spaniards called this alloy Tumbaga. It has a lower melting point than either gold or copper alone, but is harder than copper when cooled and more malleable during the working process. Tumbaga was very versatile and could be cast, hammered, plated, hardened, polished, engraved, embossed, and inlaid easily. Some samples of gold items contain almost no copper, while others are more than 90% copper and many contain other metals such as silver.

Early Airplanes Design?

One theory which gotten significant attention over the years is that some of the Quimbaya artifacts are scale models of airplanes or flying machines. A major fact to consider before accepting this theory is that a few of the objects do not resemble any living creature ever known to exist. Although the concept of aviation dates back several thousand year, the concept of an aircraft only dates back to the early 1900’s. What’s even more interesting is that two aeronautical engineers, Peter Belting and Conrad Lubbers used the dimensions of the Quimbala artifacts to create large scale models of these artifacts, which proved successful in flight testing. They proved that the designs fly with both simple single-propeller power and jet power.

Quimbaya Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs and stone carvings in the hard granite, in the area where the ancient Quimbaya lived add yet another layer of mystery to the story. In places like the Park of the Marked Stones and Natural Park of Las Piedras Marcadas, carvings seem to support some knowledge of constellations and the stars. Little else is known about these carvings, including the date they were made or their true meaning. Some theorize that they were made in honor of extraterrestrial encounters.


The artifacts are clearly the work of master craftsmen with an eye for detail, but seem out of place for the time period. We know that there are no creatures found in nature with triangular shaped bodies or wings. They may indeed be the work of a group of abstract artists who put their own creative spin on images of insects, birds, or even fish, but no one is sure. It’s more than just a coincidence that the artifacts can be scaled up and actually fly. Perhaps they were nothing more than religious articles from a sect that prayed to the stars, or highly ornate pieces of jewelry for the ruling class. There are even beliefs that the artifacts have a link to the Nazca Lines, however no evidence has been brought forth in support of it other than the ancient runway theories. Yet, even though on the surface it appears that the evidence supports the ancient airplane theory, if the Quimbaya had such skills, then why aren’t there any flying machines buried in the sand?

The Quimbaya figurines What are they?

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Do you believe in ancient cities made out of gold? Ancient civilizations that were capable of great construction projects with mysterious technology that allowed them to achieve incredible things which engineers today, with our technology, have a difficult time recreating? Well there are many treasure hunters who believe in the legendary City of Gold, El Dorado, Atlantis, etc… they believe that these ancient cities could have actually existed and that they are hidden somewhere under a thick canopy of trees.

The Quimbaya were a pre-colombian culture living in South America from 300 to 1550 CE, they were well known for their incredible skills in very precise gold and metalwork. Among the figurines discovered, some models actually resemble what some believe to be, “flying machines”. Does this sound crazy? well for some it might, but the figurines created 2,000 years ago might actually be capable of achieving flight, (with a couple of alterations).

Even though cities like el Dorado and the city-continent of Atlantis have not been found, many incredible discoveries have been made in South America, specifically near the Magdalena River where artifacts dating back to 1500 years have been found. Among the artifacts, hundreds of relatively small golden figurines were found resembling fish, and insects while some of them may resemble animals in nature but are of mysterious shapes. Many claim that some of these figurines do not depict animals at all, but rather advanced technology, specifically airplanes. Does that sound a bit strange? Well yes it does when you think about the past and the people living 100-2000 years ago, everyone would go with the “animals”, “insects” theory, but what if there is something more to these figurines?

According to the Ancient Alien theory, the figurines found have almost nothing in common with anything similar found in nature, and the triangular shaped figurines might actually depict something like fighter planes, displaying stabilizers and a fuselage. Now, even though these little figurines that might resemble modern day airplanes to some, they can actually just depict fish, or other animals found in the Tolima region where the artifacts were found. Both possibilities are open. Those who firmly oppose the ancient Alien theory will not consider it, while others might consider there is a small chance that the ancient peoples of the Tolima might have depicted in gold, something rather unusual.

If you decide to exclude the possibility that the Tolima depicted insects or fish, you can connect the shape of the artifact to a aerodynamic object. In Germany aviation experts actually performed physical tests with the Tolima “gold plane”. They actually built a scale-model replica of the artifact and did a few changes, like adding an engine to the front, and removing the curls on the wings which would have made it difficult for the artifact to achieve flight. So whit a few modifications this 2,000 year old model did prove to be aerodynamic.

It is pretty amazing to think that a pre-colombian civilization had the skill to achieve a figurines that with only a couple of changes could actually achieve flight. These figurines might have not been designed 2,000 years ago to fly, but they could have been a depiction of what they saw, either in nature, as fish and insects, or perhaps something more extraordinary than that.

Essentially you have something incredible here, and we have to mention that most of the Quimbaya figurines are made up of a “tumbaga alloy” with 30% copper something that some believe has to do with accounts of Plato and Atlantis, but that is another story on another time. Is this just a coincidence that the model replica of the “Quimbaya Airplanes” could actually fly? And that the display such incredible similarities to modern day objects? According to many, this isn’t a coincidence but proof that ancient man was extremely intelligent. The ancient people actually managed to create a model of a flying device 2000 years ago, that proved to be capable of flight today. Whether they depicted insects or something else, the figurines could achieve flight.

Articles of Colombian jewelry: Calima diadem, Lime-dipper etc

A type of head-dress, called a ‘diadem’, in the form of a high (c. 28-35 cm), flat, cut-out ornament of hammered sheet gold with decoration of an anthropomorphic face and various motifs in «repousse» work They are chased, often have nose and ear ornaments made separately and stapled to the central face, and also often have pendent cylindrical ornaments.
(Upper photo)

Darien pectoral

A type of gold pectoral of pre-columbian jewelry in the form of an anthropomorphic figure having spiral-ornamented upright wings beside the face, broad straight legs, flat feet, a head-dress surmounted by two hallucinogenic mushrooms (or bell-shaped objects, suggesting the humorous name sometimes applied, ‘telephone gods’) and usually a pair of stick-like batons or pipes held to the mouth.

The forms vary considerably, some being naturalistic, others very stylized some of the figures wear a mask, some have a head like that of an alligator or jaguar, and some have over the breast a row of cut-out birds.

Although the pieces have been found mainly in the Sinu region of Colombia, bordering the Darien Isthmus, they have been found in many other regions of Colombia, and exported examples or local copies are known from Panama, Costa Rica, and Yucatan, Mexico. The pieces (sometimes called ‘bat gods’) were made of cast gold or tumbaga, the height varying from 5 to 25 cm.

Effigy flask

An article of pre-columbian jewelry in the form of a small flask decorated on the front with the representation of a human figure and having the two sides indented to form what seems to be a handgrip.
Such pieces are sometimes depicted being worn on figures made as a pectoral.

They are examples of Qumbaya jewelry. Their use is unknown but it has been suggested that they may have contained a hallucinogenic substance used in religious rites.


A long, thin object of pre-columbian jewelry, being a type of narrow spatula or blunt pin, made of cast gold, with an ornate head, used to remove the powdered lime from a popora. They ranged from about 15 cm to 45 cm long and the heads were of a great variety of forms, e.g. a bird, warrior, bell, funnel, or masked anthropomorphic figure.

Penis sheath

An article of pre-columbian jewelry worn by the Indians. Examples are known in 2 forms:
– a wide-mouth, funnel-shaped cover, sometimes with a suspensory loop attached at the rim,
– a narrow elongated tapering cover.
Such articles were made of gold in the Tairona and Sinu regions of Colombia, and examples have been reported in Cocle jewelry from Panama.

Quimbaya Treasure

A treasure of 121 items of Qumbaya jewelry and other articles, dating from perhaps 400-1000, found in 1891 in two graves at Le Soledad, Filandia, in the Quimbaya region of Colombia. It was presented in 1892 by Colombia to the Queen of Spain and is now kept in the Museo de America, Madrid pieces from the Treasure were first seen outside Spain at the El Dorado Exhibition in London in 1978.

A characteristic form of decoration on poporas (lime flasks) is the depiction of men and women, modelled in the round, nude except for replicas of jewelry, which sometimes includes a suspended popora the small feet of the figures extend outward to lend stability to the flasks.


The flasks were worn slung around the neck, as shown on gold figures wearing replicas of them. The figures were in many forms, including warriors with bow and arrows, nobles wearing a pendant, necklace, and sceptre, and women sometimes holding a baby the figures were nude except for replicas of jewelry. Some of the figures carry small snuff trays to hold the yopo (narcotic snuff) that they sniffed. Some flasks are in the form of a globular container.


A depilatory tweezer of which examples are found in pre-columbian jewelry, some in Calima jewelry from Colombia and some in Peruvian jewelry.

Such articles are sometimes in the form of a simple unadorned bent-over strip of metal (about 4 to 9.5 cm long), with the terminals extended in a crescent shape but some ornate examples have the front arm in the form of an anthropomorphic figure wearing a diadem, earrings, and nose ornament.


is a small anthropomorphic votive figure (usually triangular) made by the Indians of the Muisca region of Colombia, always cast of gold or tumbaga, with the details of the features and apparel outlined in false filigree made by the wax threads on the models. The figures depict an individual in some routine occupation, but a few examples show groups in a genre scene.

Such pieces were used as an offering to the gods, to propitiate or thank them, by being thrown into the sacred Lake Guatavita or buried in a funerary pot. Pilgrims to the lake used them in such large quantity that they were made in the Muisca region by a mass production method, using a matrix stone with the design carved on it for stamping many wax models for casting.

The pieces were usually dull and roughly finished, perhaps because the subject matter was more important than the workmanship, but also because Muisca goldsmiths did not coat their wax models with charcoal and water to provide a smooth casting. The most remarkable piece is a gold representation, made of Muisca jewelry, of a ceremonial raft used by each ‘El Dorado’ upon his installation, showing him and other figures.

Quimbaya Standing Gold Figure.

The finely cast figure is shown standing firmly with legs straight and arms extended in front. He holds his hands in a posture of meditation. As in many shamanic figures from the area, his eyes are closed. He wears a double band on his head and similar double bands as a necklace, bracelets, upper arm bands, and leg bands. A giant aviform dangle is attached to his nose. Rectangular dangles are attached to each hand. The figure appears to be in excellent condition. 35.7 grams.

*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

History of Gold Mining in Colombia

Situated in the northwest of South America, Colombia is considered one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries and is the 4th largest economy in the continent. “Colombia’s history reads like a romance, a drama and a bad action movie all rolled into one.” Such is the opening sentence on Lonely Planet’s overview of this South American country. Indeed, the mere fact that Colombia’s name is derived from explorer Christopher Columbus makes it fairly easy to assume that Spain played a significant role in the country’s history.

Of course, when one combines South America and the Spanish colonial period, drama and upheaval are bound to make an appearance—and quite often, gold and silver show their faces as well.

The original native inhabitants of Colombia included the Muisca, Quimbaya and Tairona, and in 1499, Spanish explorers arrived and eventually developed the Viceroyalty of New Granada. Ironically enough, Columbus never set foot upon Colombian soil. It was in fact Alonso de Ojeda, a companion of Columbus’, who discovered and explored the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

The blend of curious explorer and significant local Indian wealth led to the birth of the El Dorado myth, which tells of a kingdom paved in gold and emeralds. This served as the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow for Spain, and their search for this untold wealth led to the development of the land. The first stones of Santa Marta were laid in 1525, and Cartagena followed suit, becoming the principal center of trade. The economy was centered around gold mining, and amid all the political and economic upheavals and the eventual independence from Spain, Colombia grew to be the world’s largest gold producer during the 19th century.

An estimated $639,000,000 worth of gold was produced from 1537 until 1886, alongside a significant amount of silver as well.

Colombia has three main areas where gold can be found the Andean Region, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains and the Guyana Shield.

The Andean region contains many of the country’s city centers, and divides into three Cordilleras (Central, Occidental and Oriental). Much of the gold produced in Colombia’s early days came from this region, particularly in the Cordillera Central (more specifically in the Antioquia department in the central northwestern portion of the country).

Four major mineral belts in this region trend from north to northeasterly, the Choco belt, Middle Cauca belt, Segovia belt and California-Angostura district.

To the east of the Choco belt, the most significant Colombian placer deposits occur following the Rio Nechi. Gold can be found in the municipio of Zaragoza in fact, the nearby town of Remedios was developed from the mining activities in that area during the colonial period. Almost all the tributaries of the Magdalena and Cauca heading towards the Cordillera Central carried placer gold, although the most productive areas were the Porce and Nechi rivers.

These converge at Dos Bocas where considerable gold deposits have gathered over a wide stretch. The San Andres Creek, a tributary of the Rio San Bartolome, the Rio Nus (near Providencia) and the Rio Porce are all significant gold mining localities of east-central Antioquia. The Segovia belt has seen significant gold production through the placers derived from gold deposits in the northern area of the Central Cordillera.

The Remedios and Segovia districts were critical areas to gold production in Antioquia, while other historical gold-producing districts include Anori, Amalfi, Santa Rosa, Santo Domingo and San Roque and Titiribi, (averaging about $300,000 annually in the early 1900s).

The Middle Cauca belt holds more porphyry gold deposits, although some epithermal deposits can also be found in Marmota. Placer gold is also found in abundance in the San Juan-Atrato river valleys, while the departments of Caldas and Tolima also produced significant amounts of lode gold, although the latter is more known for silver.

Although The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains, an independent mountain range that ranks as the highest coastal range in the world, reportedly hold a notable amount of gold. However, the area has remained largely unexplored due to the natives who protect the area.

The Guyana Shield can be found in the southeastern area of Colombia and trends across the northern coast of South America. However, gold exploration efforts are largely concentrated in the Andean region, what with sentiment describing the Colombian Andes as the “final frontier”, since the Andean areas in neighboring countries to the south have been explored thus far.

One of the leading emerging markets of the world, Colombia is among the top 10 largest coal-producing countries worldwide, and supplies 55% of the world’s emeralds. Despite these strengths, its mining industry remains fairly undeveloped in relation to the other sectors in the country.

Efforts to invest in and develop large-scale mining activities in the country have increased over the past 15 years, with various entities looking to take advantage of Colombia’s rich gold and nickel resources. Since 2000, roughly 85 million ounces of gold resources had been discovered in the country. One major undertaking is the La Colosa mining project under AngloGold Ashanti, which seeks to take advantage of the porphyry deposits in the Middle Cauca belt near Tolima.

In 2009, calculated reserves of the site were at about 12.9 million ounces. AngloGold is also exploring Antioquia through the Gramalote project, a joint venture with B2Gold. Colombian Mines (Yarumalito gold-copper project in Marmato) and Trident Gold (Marquesa property in northeast Antioquia) are two other major gold companies undertaking gold exploration in the country.

African Collar Necklace

Ornaments are worn in most African cultures and often represent a person's level of wealth. African jewelry is made with valuable objects like gold, shells and beads. Now your child can create his own African collar like the ones worn by the Yoruba tribe of East Africa, to show off his handiwork and personal style.

What You Need:

  • Paper plate
  • Markers
  • Yarn
  • Gold paint
  • Hot glue gun (with glue)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Pasta
  • Gold or red paint
  • Colored straws

What You Do:

  1. Have your child create a collar out of a paper plate by cutting through one side of the plate and removing a large circle in the center.
  2. Using the ruler and a pencil, draw a grid around the collar.
  3. Color the grid in with bright markers.
  4. Now paint the pasta gold, and let it dry completely.
  5. First, cut the colored drinking straws into small pieces. Then, cut several lengths of yarn as well, each about a foot long. Having slightly different lengths will make the collar more visually interesting.
  6. Have your child string the painted pasta and pieces of drinking straws onto the pieces of string, and fasten the ends.
  7. Carefully hot glue the ends of the strings to the bottom edge of the collar, and about an inch apart.
  8. Hot glue the remaining pieces of painted pasta and colored straws around the collar of the necklace.

This Yoruba collar necklace is a great way to put the finishing touch on a costume! If your child isn't keen on wearing the necklace, it can also be displayed on a wall or in a doorway.

Why Medallion Necklaces Are Heirlooms in the Making

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Photographed by Cass Bird, Vogue, July 2017

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A celebrity and style-set favorite, gold medallion necklaces are a simple and beautiful way to wear a piece of jewelry with inherent meaning. There’s no Pythagorean theorem for the perfect number of gold coins or medallions on a necklace, or for how many such necklaces to wear at once, or keep in your jewelry box. The key is that they work well with almost every outfit—a bikini, a T-shirt, or a sweet dress, just like Gwyneth Paltrow has shown.

Historically, the Greco-Romans wore medallion necklaces as status symbols, often with gold coins as the pendant to showcase their wealth. Gold coins are still used in many a necklace but, as the medallions have evolved, the prevailing circular disc pendant is now the canvas for a more nuanced status symbol. It can show a horoscope, your wedding date, your family’s initials, a memento from the past, a hope for the future, really anything you want.

And as jewelry goes, the want for personal stories embedded in it continues to increase. Jewelry designer Beth Bugdaycay of Foundrae, a brand that specializes in medallions, sees it this way: “I really believe that each symbol leads to a bit more of an unfolding, to really get to who we are, or who we are capable of being.”

Choose a pre-columbian culture to learn about it


In the highlands of San Agustin and the Valley of La Plata, in the headwaters of the Magdalena River, from 1000 BC small Formative societies saw the emergence of social hierarchies. In the Regional Classic, between 1 and 900 AD, the range and power religious leaders marched in building funerary monuments of stone statues carved in tuff volcanic. Although the use and accumulation of gold ornaments were not common among these leaders, some were buried with grave goods containing objects of gold. The gracefulness of a winged fish contrasts with the grandeur of the statues.