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Luis Alberto Cano | L.A. CANO

Pre-Columbian motifs rendered in gold jewelry

In the lushly beautiful city of Rionegro, master jeweler Luis Alberto Cano runs artist collective Precoarte, which for decades has been focused on preserving ancient, indigenous creative techniques. This group of around forty artists crafts elaborately detailed and often technically breathtaking fine metal jewelry, working exclusively with 24-karat-gold plated brass and silver.

When it comes to design inspiration, “Our artisans preserve pre-Columbian cultures,” explains Cano, “through reproducing original pieces with the aim of keeping the magnificent work of our ancestors alive.” From statement-making necklaces, geometrically patterned, elegant cuffs, and dangling earrings, Precoarte’s items are all made by hand, using a lost wax technique prized by expert jewelers the world over.

Precoarte was founded by Luis Alberto Cano and is recognized for its unique reinterpretations of Pre-Columbian art and artifacts. The Cano family’s fascination with Pre-Columbian cultures dates back to the late 19th century, when stone paver Nemesio Cano discovered important archeological sites filled with pre-Columbian gold treasures. His discoveries ignited a passion for collecting indigenous artifacts that was passed down to his sons Jose and Felix and later on to his grandson Guillermo. During their time searching for these treasures, the first three generations of Canos brought over 10,000 gold pieces to the Banco de la Republica Gold Museum in Bogota. It’s a renowned collection that’s been exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, National Geographic, the British Museum, and other world-class museums.