This sterling silver Peruvian letter opener of a bird called ALCATRAZ, comes with a fascinating history. The Alcatraz is part of the Nazca Lines in southern Peru. These are a group of mysterious pre-Columbian geoglyphs etched into desert sands. Covering an area of nearly 1,000 sq. kilometers, there are about 300 different figures, including animals and plants (and Alcatraz). Composed of over 10,000 lines, some of which measure 30 meters wide and stretch more than 9 kilometers, the figures are most visible from the air or nearby hilltops.
The Nazca Lines are an enigma. No one has proof as to who built them and what their function was. Since their discovery, they have inspired fantastic explanations... from ancient gods, a landing strip for returning aliens, a celestial calendar created by the ancient Nazca civilization -- dating the creation of the lines between 200 BC and 600 AD, used for rituals related to astronomy, representing the clans who made up the population, or a map of underground water supplies.
The Alcatraz geoglyph is a length of about 280 m (918 feet). The bird has been called both a crane and / or a flamingo.
Back circa 1970s, someone visited Peru, saw the Nazca Lines, and brought back this fine sterling silver letter opener with Alcatraz on the top. In the brochure that comes with the opener in its original box, it says that this 'enigmatic jewel' is entirely hand-made, using hammering and piercing techniques.
The miniature sword-shaped letter opener has a beautiful green malachite stone set in a silver bezel. The opener measures 3/4 inch at the widest by 4 3/8 inches long. It weighs 11 grams. The back of Alcatraz is marked 925 for sterling silver. Still in its original box from a gift shop in Lima. Original patina can be polished. Excellent vintage condition.
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