Many names, one iconic image
It has many different names: Tollima figther jet, Quimbayan airplane, Aztec flying machine. All of the names refer to gold figurines that can be found throughout Central and South American ruins and burial grounds. The design has manifested itself in many pre-columbian cultures that existed from 300 to 1550 CE. One of these cultures was known as the Quimbaya. The Quimbayans were excellent goldsmiths with a keen eye for detail and craftsmanship. What makes these figurines so remarkable is that their design is very consistent with aerodynamic principles used to make modern jet craft. This begs the question: What are these figurines supposed to depict?
Human inspiration or alien intervention?
Mainstream archaeologists attribute the figurine’s meaning to zoo-morphism, the representation of animals. In this case, the figurines would depict some type of fish or insect that held significance for pre-columbian cultures. The pre-columbian cultures such as the Tolima and Quimbaya were simply observing and re-creating what they observed from nature. The main critics of this assessment are ancient alien theorists. They assert that the inspiration for these flying machines is from something far more extraordinary, which is beyond the scope of this article. Regardless of the original intent, these figurines have captured the imagination of modern day students of archeology and speculators of alternative world history. No inspiration would be complete without the addition of modern interpretations of the original designs.
Not so ancient methods, gold plating a modern replica
Featured here is a modern replica example of an ancient flying machine. This replica was cast in bronze and given an “aged” look using a patina. To protect it from discoloration it is covered with a clear coat. As a result it looks nothing like the original flying machines in terms of metal color. The original flying machine figurines were made with an alloy metal which was approximately 70% pure gold and 30% copper giving it a 14kt rose gold color. The ancient metal smiths would then immerse the piece in a strong acid derived from citrus fruits to leach out the copper. This process would remove the copper atoms from the outermost layer of the surface leaving a rich layer of 23kt yellow gold. This thin layer of nearly pure gold would make the piece appear a bright yellow, suitable to represent the journey to the sun.
To replicate that yellower type of gold, we removed the clear coat layer and re-plated the bronze piece with a 22kt yellow gold selected from our Medici portfolio of gold colors. It is a rich gold color, 99% pure. The resulting effect is a more dazzling and authentic appearance true to that era and culture.
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