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ANNIVERSARY GIFTS BY YEAR

 

The Origins of Gift Themes for Each Wedding Anniversary Year

 Whilst an actual wedding is an important milestone in the life of any couple, bringing friends and family together in celebration, a wedding anniversary is the ideal opportunity to commemorate the love two people still feel for each other, whatever the ups and downs of married life.

In the majority of cultures, wedding anniversaries are considered to be very important, and are widely celebrated in ways that are significant and meaningful. As the couple remind themselves of their commitment to each other, friends and family should take the time and make the effort to find a gift which is just perfect, holding a deeper symbolic meaning for the happy pair.

OUR MOST POPULAR ANNIVERSARY GIFT

Our Most Popular Anniversary Gift for Her

In the first few years of marriage, it can be simple to come up with a present that is sure to be appreciated, as couples lack many of the physical essentials of married life. Further down the line, as more milestones are reached, it can become a lot more challenging to come up with a gift idea for the couple which will be appropriate and treasured.

The origins of presenting loved ones with gifts on the occasion of a wedding anniversary dates back to the middle ages, when husbands in the Holy Roman Empire would present to their wife a wreath of silver on the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary, and a golden one should they reach the milestone of 50 years of married life.

During the 1920s, an American writer named Emily Post sought to solve the problem of which gift to give on other wedding anniversary years by including a list of suggested wedding anniversary themes in her book, entitled "Etiquette", published in 1922. Only some years were featured, namely the 1st, 5th and every five years up to the silver wedding (the 25th anniversary). Some years later, in 1937, the American National Retail Jeweler Association added to this list and made it longer, including every year up to the 14th anniversary and then filling in every 5th year up to the golden wedding (the 50th anniversary). These themes have come to represent the traditional ones for every marital year, however in recent times, a more modern list has been drawn up. Over time, all of the years have been given a theme from 1 to 25 years of marriage, and then incorporating every fifth year up until the 75th anniversary.

Having compiled all the possible lists, we have drawn up a very complete table outlining both the traditional and modern themes linked with every anniversary year.

There is further information following this table which might assist you. 

Year of Anniversary

Modern Gift Material/Theme

Traditional Gift Material/Theme

Colour

Gemstone

Modern and Traditional Gift Ideas

1

Clocks

Paper

 

Yellow: Gold

Gold Jewellery (nil specific stone)

Substitute: Pearl; Peridot

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2

China

 

Cotton

 

Red

Garnet

Substitute: Rose Quartz

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3

Glass/Crystal

Leather

 

White; Jade

Pearl

Substitute: Jade; Moonstone; Crystal

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4

Appliances (electrical)

Silk; Linen (UK); Fruit/Flowers (US)

 

Green: Blue

Blue Topaz

Substitute: Amethyst; Blue Zircon

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5

Silverware

Wood

Pink; Blue; Turquoise

 

Sapphire

Substitute: Turquoise; Rose Quartz; Pink Tourmaline

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6

Wood

Candy (UK)

Iron (US)

White; Turquoise; Purple

Amethyst

Substitute: Turquoise; Garnet

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7

Desk Sets; Brass

 

Wool (UK)

Copper (US)

Off-White; Yellow

Onyx

Substitute: Copper; Yellow Sapphire; Lapis Lazuli

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8

Lace; Linen

 

 

Salt (UK)

Pottery; Bronze (US)

 

Bronze

Tourmaline

Substitute: Bronze; Aventurine; Tanzanite

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9

Leather

 

Copper (UK)

Pottery; Willow (US)

 

Terracotta

Lapis Lazuli

Substitute: Andalusite; Tiger Eye

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10

Diamond Jewellery

 

Tin (UK & US) Aluminium (US)

 

Blue: Silver

Diamond

Substitute: Green Tourmaline; Onyx; Crystal

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11

Accessories;

Fashion Jewellery

Steel

 

Turquoise

Turquoise

Substitute: Hematite

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12

Pearls

 

Silk; Linen (UK)

Home Décor (US)

 

Oyster-White

Jade

Substitute: Tsavorite; Garnet; Pearl; Agate

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13

 

Furs; Textiles

 

 

Lace

 

 

White

Citrine

Substitute: Opal; Malachite; Moonstone

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14

Gold Jewellery

 

 

Elephant or Ivory

 

Ivory

Opal

Substitute: Kunzite; Moss Agate; Gold; Ivory

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15

Watches

 

Crystal

 

Red

Ruby

Substitute: Blue Sapphire; Rhodolite

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16

Silverware

 

 

Peridot

Substitute: Golden Topaz: Aquamarine

Silver

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17

Furniture

 

 

Carnelian

Substitute: Amethyst; Pink Tourmaline; Citrine; Watch

Yellow

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18

Porcelain

 

Cat’s Eye

Substitute: Aquamarine; Opal

Blue

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19

Bronze

 

Aquamarine

Substitute: Golden Beryl; Topaz

Bronze

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20

Platinum

 

China

White; Emerald-Green

Emerald

Substitute: Platinum

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21

Nickel; Brass

Iolite

Orange

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22

Copper

Spinel

Green

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23

Silver Plate

Imperial Topaz

Substitute: Sapphire

Silver

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24

Musical Instruments

 

Opal (US)

 

Lavender

Tanzanite

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25

Silver

Silver Jewelry (nil specific stone)

Silver

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26

Pictures

Nil

Nil

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27

Sculptures

Nil

Nil

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28

Orchids

Substitute: Orchid Tourmaline; Amethyst

 

Lavender

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29

Furniture

Nil

Nil

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30

Diamond

 

Pearl

Green

Pearl

Substitute: Jade; Diamond

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35        

Jade

Coral (UK & US);

Jade (US)

 

Coral

Emerald

Substitute: Jade; Coral

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40

Ruby

Ruby

Red

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45

Sapphire

Sapphire

Substitute: Alexandrite

Blue

 

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50

Gold

 

Gold (nil specific stone)

Substitute: Gold; Imperial Topaz

Gold

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55

Emerald

 

Alexandrite

Substitute: Emerald

Emerald-Green

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60

Diamond

Diamond

Diamond-White

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Should You Buy Traditional or Modern-Themed Gifts?

Customarily, in the first few years of married life, the gifts chosen would be of a practical nature, while later on in their marriage, more luxurious presents would be offered once the marital home was fully equipped and established.

If you look at the list of traditional wedding anniversary themes, you will see materials which were historically widely available, such as paper, tin and wool. In contrast, the contemporary list highlights items which are popular today such as desk sets and appliances.

Traditional gifts are not listed for every year after the 20th year of marriage, while the modern list details a theme for each year up to the 30th marital year, reflecting a couple's need to put more effort into sustaining their romance and commitment as they travel further together on the marital journey.

So Which List is Best?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as the choice of gift must eventually rest entirely on the recipients' tastes and the sentiments conveyed by the giver. Interestingly, not all gift themes are the same for every country, and in the table you will see for certain anniversary years, which country is being used as the source for each gift suggestion, whether the US or the UK.

Other Gift Themes - Flowers, Colours and Gemstones

As well as being symbolised by a traditional and a modern gift, there are also often flowers, colours and gemstones linked with anniversary years. The Information Manual on Gemstones published by the American Gem Trade Association in 1985 lists all the gemstones that are linked to anniversary years from 1 to 25, and then for every fifth year up to 60 years of marriage. There appear to be differences in which gemstone is associated with each year depending on which country the list was compiled in, but this gives the giver a range of options.

There are also often flowers and colours associated with different anniversary years, although again, these are not always consistent depending on source. However it is generally believed that the beautiful rose can easily be substituted as a perfect token for any anniversary year, and the colour of this rose can, in most instances, be matched to the colour theme of that anniversary year.

How to Choose a Gift

In our table you will see a fully comprehensive guide to every anniversary year, including the modern and traditional themes, colours, and gemstones, and also the flowers which are outlined in further detail when you click the link in the last column. The information in this table relates to every anniversary year up until the 30th, and then every five years onwards to the 60th. You can also find an outline of the background and symbolism relating to every gift theme as well as additional aspects of the anniversary, and a selection of helpful gift ideas relating to each milestone. There are generally plenty of exciting suggestions to select from to make finding just the right gift easy. Remember that there are no hard and fast rules when purchasing anniversary gifts, so as long as you are guided by your partner’s tastes, you should be sure to find something they will cherish.

Some anniversaries have no traditional theme associated with them, and therefore you will see only a modern gift theme listed. There are also some years that have no flower, colour or gemstone linked with them. There are, however, still helpful gift ideas suggested for each anniversary year.

If you are searching for guidance on romantic activities for your anniversary, you can check out our list of 35 exciting and unique suggestions.