The Tairona civilization flourished in northern Colombia between 200CE and 1600CE. Their rulers were a part of Shaman elite that claimed to be able to control the forces of nature, the cosmos and all human thoughts and actions.
One of the chief beliefs of the Tairona people was in the process of transformation. The process is a typical shamanistic power exchange. By cleansing their mind and body, going through long periods of fasting, and exhaustive ritual dances, they believed the shamans' souls could transcend the mortal human condition and acquire knowledge from unknown regions of the cosmos which would be inaccessible to anyone else.
It was the belief of the Tairona that the shamans could escape their body and gain the knowledge of other creatures. This belief influenced their intricate gold-work as many of the ornaments found from this region depict people turning into fierce animals.
The Tairona Necklace serves as a talisman of sorts, a tooth, a claw, an artifact from a past civilization--a reminder of our place in the natural world.