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The nautical star is a symbolic star associated with the sea services of the United States armed forces and with tattoo culture. It is usually rendered as a five-pointed star in dark and light shades counterchanged in a manner reminiscent of a compass rose.
The nautical star is frequently encountered as an informal signifier indicating membership in the United States Coast Guard, United States Navy, or Marine Corps. The symbol recalls both the five-pointed star of the US national flag and the distinctive color pattern of the compass rose found on many nautical charts. The nautical star also represented a traveler or sailor's way home whenever they were lost in life or travel.
This symbol is also frequently used for tattoo ideas and designs because of its simplistic, condensed, yet quite eye-pleasing conception. Usually paired with its compass-like style, it can come in various color-styles. However, the eye-pleasing black design still reigns within its colorful boundaries. In the 1940's and 50's some lesbians tattooed the nautical star on their wrists as a sign to other lesbians. This location made the tattoo easily covered when necessary.