Colombia's constitutional court is studying a petition demanding that Spain return a collection of 122 pre-Colombian gold ornaments given by a 19th century president to its former colonial power.

Experts began testifying Thursday in a day-long session before the high court to study the petition by a local lawyer.

Then-President Carlos Holguin gave the collection in 1893 to Spanish Queen Maria Cristina to thank the monarchy for its role demarcating Colombia's border with Venezuela.

The collection came to be known as the Quimbaya Treasure, for the pre-Columbian artisans that crafted the pieces. It currently belongs to Madrid's Museum of the Americas.

Many Colombians consider it national patrimony and are demanding its repatriation under international conventions.aba

Spain's culture ministry and the museum had no immediate comment.