According to researchers Sanchi Stups of Bharat, that is India, are the prototypes of modern-day pagoda. Myanmar prototypes Baw Baw Gyi and Be Be Gyi of Siri Kestra are very simple structures. They all have only rudiments of an umbrella but no orb, diamond or any other. Diamond orb is a unique Myanmar creation. Here is a short description of most exquisitely crafted magnificent diamond orb the one atop The Shwedagon Pagoda.
Diamond orb is also known as the spectrum. Myanmar name for it, Sein Hpoo meaning diamond bud, is most apt. It is shaped like a rose bud studded with choicest gems. It shines like a miniature sun in daytime with its sparkling gold, diamond, rubies and sapphires. At night with candles lit at numerous shrines and spotlights on the main platform, the diamond glows a glorious red seen from certain points.
The diameter of the diamond bud is 10.5”and it is hollow inside like a small jewellery casket. It is a thick shell made of pure gold. The middle is girdled with 3 rings of diamonds. The whole surface is embellished with precious and priceless gems of all kinds. The jewels are done in the shapes of peacocks, butterflies, crowns and zedis (cedis) leaving no blank space any where. There is also a Buddha image wrought with jewels. There are more than four thousand diamonds weighing over two thousand rati which is about 800 carats. Besides diamonds there are nearly a hundred gems. At the top of the diamond but there is a seventysix carat diamond with three diamond studded bands of pure gold forming a tripod over it.
Orbs atop other pagodas also follow the similar design, only difference is in minor details. Figures on the diamond orb may be different, number of jewels may be less, depending on the availability of funds. Atop some rural pagodas one can find a glass ball cut like a diamond. Those also shine like a mercury vapour lamp in daytime. When viewed from certain spots, they can be seen from miles.
Sourced: Myanmar Culture Traditions and Scenery, Pagoda Architecture
by U Than Pe, Tour guide