Buddha Mama Enlightens Manhattan
Buddha Mama chose the beginning of Losar, the Tibetan New Year of the male wooden horse to launch its line of fine jewelry in the NY market.
In between making the rounds and sipping wine, founding designer Nancy Badia explained her passion and commitment to both Buddhism and her jewelry. It all began with Badia creating malas, which are Buddhist prayer beads used in counting mantra recitations. She then realized her creative energies could be directed as a means to support Zen Village, a charity center she is affiliated with in Miami, Florida. In Buddhist teachings there is a saying of “taking refuge in the triple gem” or commitment to the foundation of the practice’s three jewels: Buddha, the Dharma or teachings, and the Sangha or community; so it’s natural that a jewelry line supports furthering Buddhist practices. Badia states her company’s mission is “to bring the world striking jewelry with a purpose.” Malas are still included in Buddha Mama’s range and are some of the most beautiful, high-end malas out there.
Working in various grades of yellow gold, 14K rose gold, and silver, alongside Tibetan wood, Afghan beads and mountain coral, Badia incorporates sometimes subtle sometimes overt Buddhist elements into every piece of jewelry bearing the Buddha Mama logo. Badia is mindful to blend Buddhist components and traditions with a fashion perspective, making Buddha Mama jewelry so wonderful and appealing to the point where one doesn’t even have to be conscious of the theology intrinsic to the brand to love the jewelry.
Badia currently explores five themes: Dreamcatcher, Dharma Wheel, Magnetite Jade, the Buddha Collection and the Auspicious Collection. Dreamcatcher is debatably the best with a mandala in the center replacing the traditional webbing. While there is nary a weak piece in this set, rings, bracelets and wrist to finger wristlets are top picks.
The Dharma Wheel collection represents the endless cycle of birth and rebirth on the path to enlightenment. Look for amazing bracelets scattered with lotus flowers of gold accented by Tibetan and Afghani beads.
Luxurious Magnetite Jade- sparkled with 24K gold to cover the jade’s natural imperfections- is a stunning collection. Consider this Badia’s least theology-based series and rather her homage to the seductive heat and romance of her Miami.
By using natural curved stones deftly carved with Buddha images, Buddha collection manages to avoid garish renditions of the deity. Although there is a potato chip factor- flat and curved- Badia’s attention to detail in construction makes each piece museum quality and precious. Carvings are like tactile relics carrying an aura of protection to the wearer.
Badia’s 26-year old daughter, Dakota is lead designer of the Auspicious Collection, with the intention of offering the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism and transmitting good fortune. Currently, skulls are the theme, but ganesha and oms are on the way. Auspicious appeals to younger collectors is marketed with a Kurt Cobain quote. Dakota sprinkles Auspicious with her sunny Miami attitude, making for the happiest goth skulls ever.
Welcome to NY and wishing success to Buddha Mama on its retail path.
By Elizabeth Maher