For centuries explorers have been lured by Peru’s fascinating culture and legends of its vast treasure. When the Spanish arrived to the Americas in the 16th century, it didn’t take long for Francisco Pizarro to hear the rumors of an unimaginably rich empire ruling over the lands of South America. Tempted by the possibilities, Pizarro convinced Emperor Charles V to allow him to lead a campaign to extend the reaches of the Spanish Empire into Peru. Historians agree that the conquest of Peru was characterized by equal parts viciousness and greed on the part of the Spaniards. The Incan Emperor Atahualpa was captured in an ambush and eventually killed. Unable to control themselves, the Spaniards melted the beautiful works of gold and silver jewelry into bars to distribute amongst themselves. It was not long before the Incan empire, and its rich cultural traditions, were destroyed. [caption id="attachment_135" align="aligncenter" width="218" caption="The Capture of Atahualpa"][/caption] Today, we have a greater appreciation for the depth of the Incan culture. The rumors of its riches were not exaggerated. Indeed, gold and silver played an important part in their everyday lives. Unlike the Spaniards who equated the precious metals with wealth, the Incans gave gold and silver religious significance. Gold was a symbol of Inti, the Sun God, while silver was associated with the Moon Goddess Mama Killa. Peru’s modern jewelry designers have a very long tradition to draw upon. The collection that we feature on our site seeks to combine Peru’s history with a modern aesthetic. Inspired by their Incan ancestors, the designers have kept the stories of the past alive with a unique sense of style and an authentic respect for the past.