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Star of Bethlehem

Have you ever wished upon a star? Did you ever look to the heavens for inspiration, guidance, and hope? If truth is known, most people have at one time or another, but in Bethlehem, a particular star has long had a heart in the Bethlehem community from the city’s christening in 1741 to the present day.

When you wish upon a star 
It makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you……”

Jiminy Cricket from Disney’s Pinocchio

The Bethlehem Star, prominent in the skyline over Bethlehem, is a nod to the Moravian Star as celebrated by the Moravian community that settled in this area. The Moravian star had its humble beginnings in a boarding school in Niesky, Germany. At the time, a creative professor developed the star to teach his students geometry. The students took to the task, and before long, they began making and selling the stars as a hobby. Due to the apparent connection between the original star in Bethlehem and the birth of Christ, the Moravian Church quickly adopted the star, becoming a significant symbol in that faith tradition. It is by no accident then that the city of Bethlehem was christened on Christmas Eve in 1741.

The distinguishing characteristic of the Bethlehem star, as opposed to Moravian stars, is the elongated points at the top and the bottom. In the early 1900s, city council members developed the idea of placing a Bethlehem star on South Mountain. In 1939, the city installed the first star, made of wood with steel supports from Bethlehem Steel. Due to a push by the Chamber of Commerce, it was at this time that Bethlehem officially became known as the “Christmas City.” By 1967 the community needed a new star; it was installed and remains in place today. Initially, the star was lit only during the Christmas season, but by the ’90s, year-round lighting became the norm.

In a poignant moment, while gazing at the star on South Mountain, Neville Gardner, proprietor of Donegal Square Store, was inspired to create a piece of jewelry that incorporated the much-loved icon of Bethlehem. He made the Bethlehem Star collection in collaboration with ShanOre Jewelry of Ireland. 

The premiering collection was the Midnight Blue Collection. It included two sizes of pendants, earrings, a bangle, and a bracelet. In time, the Echoes of Ireland collection followed. With its green color and trinity knot, it successfully blended the cultures of Ireland and Bethlehem in a striking fashion. The Echoes collection includes both pendants and earrings.

The newest addition to the collection is the 14k Gold Vermeil (pronounced vehr-may) Stars. The earrings and pendants have a luxurious layering of 14K gold over high-quality sterling silver and are available in four different colors.

The culmination of Neville’s inspiration, however, is the Hope for Life Collection. In this unique assortment, various colored stones were incorporated into the design to represent different cancers and to honor cancer patients and their caregivers. Pink stones represent breast cancer, blue for prostate cancer, lime green for Lymphoma, white for lung cancer, lavender for all cancers, and purple to honor caregivers. In addition, a generous portion of each sale from the Hope for Life collection goes to cancer research, for our wish is that cancer research will produce a cure soon, giving every cancer patient and their loved ones a reason to “Hope for Life.” Slainte!

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