Who knew? Some Buddhas lend themselves more readily to spectacular jewelry than others. For Nancy Badia, founder of the Buddha Mama line, Amitabha Buddha—who is always portrayed in religious imagery in Technicolor-bright hues—proved particularly alluring. “This piece was especially fun to do,” she says, “because we could incorporate enamel and vibrant colored stones.” Amitabha “is seen a lot throughout Buddhism,” explains the Miami-based designer, who debuted the jewelry collection in 2008 and has been a practicing Buddhist for over two decades. The sanguine Amitabha is “one of the main Buddhas in the Lotus family. His name translates to ‘infinite light.’ He represents love and compassion. Also, he just makes us happy.”
The bejeweled Buddha—which is on sale for $39,000 through Buddha Mama Jewelry—is part of the brand’s Auspicious collection, which includes “anything of good fortune,” Badia says. The hamsa, an ancient hand-shaped sign, and Ganesha, a Hindu deity with an elephant head, are among the spiritual symbols found in the collection.
This genial deity features 0.35 ct. t.w. emeralds and 6 cts. t.w. pink sapphires, and is crowned with 3 cts. t.w. colorless diamonds. The piece was sculpted from 20k yellow gold and sits on a pink enamel-painted lotus blossom.
The one-of-a-kind piece was fabricated by hand by artisans in Thailand. “I remember sitting in the factory for a few hours sending these poor guys up and down the elevator until we all agreed that the nose and the cheekbones were just right,” Badia recalls. “He was just too puffy for a while there!”