What is a Moravian Star and How Do I Use It in My Home Decor?

updated Jun 3, 2020
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You might love the look of the items you decorate your home with, but you may not always know the history behind them or where certain styles even came from. Scandinavian-inspired vases and mid-century modern chairs are a bit more obvious than door knockers or bowls of fake fruit, for example. Another one of those ambiguous items? Moravian Stars—you know, those visually stunning multifaceted celestial shapes, usually in the form of pendant or flush-mount lamps, that you might have seen on a neighbor’s porch or even have hanging in your own entryway.

These funky geometric shapes are often seen in the homes of boho decor fans, but they can also strike an edgy chord in a traditional space or be used in Moroccan-inspired room. Interestingly enough, Moravian Stars have a long, intricate history that actually has little to do with the styles they’re usually associated with.

Where did the Moravian Star originate?

The Moravian Star’s origin story starts with the Moravian Church. According to the church’s website, these stars came about from geometry lessons. Moravian boarding school students in Germany made these intricate stars during class, and religious leaders and church workers brought these stars along with them while doing missionary work during the nineteenth century. 

In the Moravian religion, the star is symbolic of God, and is often correlated with the star of Bethlehem, which has led to an association of these stars with advent during the Christmas season. While this symbolic form is still used in the church, many people have adopted it into their homes as secular statement decor with no religious affiliation.

Who are the Moravians?

The Moravians are a religious group belonging to the Moravian Church, a denomination of Protestantism. They originate from modern-day Czech Republic, but according to Moravian Seminary’s site, the religion is now practiced all around the world, with the highest concentration of members in Africa. 

What are the key features of a Moravian star?

Thankfully, you won’t be required to make a multifaceted shape out of paper to bring a version of the Moravian tar into your home. These stars, typically found in the form of metal-framed glass paneled lamps, can be found for sale in many home decor stores and online retailers. Made up of 12 pentagrammic faces, the Moravian Star’s shape is also known as a Great Stellated dodecahedron.

You can find these complex lamps in almost any color now, but in terms of original colors, The Moravian Church website states, “While we are most familiar with the white star, the first star had alternating red and white points. Stars colors have also included red and yellow, white and yellow, and a yellow ‘starburst’ with a red center.”

When it comes to using the star in your home, the lamp version often serves as the perfect statement piece above a dining room table, as a focal point in an entryway just off a kitchen, or illuminating your desk or reading nook from overhead. Because most are made of clear or white glass, the Moravian Star is an easy decorative touch to incorporate it into any design style you already have in place. You can even find miniature Moravian stars to use as delicate coffee table decorations or bookends.