Once a year, we get a special chance to reflect on our relationships. We look back on how we’ve grown and changed with our partners over the course of the past year and since we met. Though we may honor our love in small ways every day, our anniversaries offer a unique chance to celebrate it. And of course, anniversary gifts are an important part of that celebration.
You’re probably familiar with the fact that each anniversary is associated with a specific precious metal or gemstone. But which anniversary is attached to which gem, and why? In this blog, we’ll go over the major anniversary stones, giving you the background on each gem and its significance to your relationship. We’ll also offer some of our best gift ideas for each anniversary stone.
Where Do Traditional Anniversary Gifts Come From?
The tradition of giving anniversary gifts dates back many years. In the Victorian Era, an official list of anniversary gifts for each year was established. It’s likely that this list originated in the United Kingdom, but the first person to compile it and publish it for an American audience was socialite Emily Post.
Looking at the list today, you might be left scratching your head. Some of the suggested gifts seem, well, a little unromantic. It’s important to keep in mind that many of the items on the list used to be a lot harder to come by. More importantly, though, the sentiment behind each gift is what truly matters. Each gift was meant to symbolize something special to its associated year of marriage. Throughout this blog, we’ll explain a bit about each traditional anniversary gift, so keep reading if you’re curious as to what they mean.
Year 1: The Golden Anniversary
The traditional first anniversary gift is paper–yes, paper–and while it might seem unimpressive, the thought behind it is actually quite sweet. It was chosen because it beautifully represents both the fragility of a new marriage as well as its unlimited potential. Think about all you can create with a blank piece of paper as your starting point. The first year of marriage offers just as many wonderful opportunities.
The first year is the only anniversary year associated with a precious metal other than a gemstone. Like paper, gold is both delicate and versatile. It requires care to continue shining. With the right upkeep, though, it can last for many, many years, still as beautiful as the day you received it. It, too, represents possibility. Gold jewelry goes with everything, offering endless opportunities for customization. We think it’s the perfect symbol to capture the promise of your first year together.
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to first anniversary gifts. With so much gorgeous gold jewelry out there, it’s hard to go wrong. However, we can offer you a few tips to get started. First, think about the color of gold your spouse likes to wear. Do they prefer striking white gold, classic yellow gold, or trendy rose gold?
Next, think about what jewelry they’re missing from their collection. If they have a box full of earrings but not many necklaces, consider a gold pendant or chain. If it’s the other way around, consider classic gold hoop earrings. And of course, you can’t go wrong with a set of gold stacking rings.
Year 3: The Pearl Anniversary
Three years into your marriage, you’ve likely faced some challenges together as a couple. Life is filled with unexpected twists and turns, but you’ve tackled them together. It makes sense, then, that the traditional gift for the third anniversary was leather, meant to symbolize the strengthening of your bond. The jewelry equivalent is the pearl.
As the only gemstone produced by a living creature, pearls are a rare treasure. Whether the pearls are natural (that is, caught in the wild) or cultured (grown on an oyster farm), the process of growing a pearl is a long one. Oysters take anywhere from six months to four years to produce a pearl. We certainly think it’s worth the wait, and the work.
Give the gift of pearl jewelry to show your spouse that your love only grows with time. From Coco Chanel’s pearl strands to Jackie Kennedy’s famous pearl stud earrings, few gemstones are quite this iconic.
Pearls make an especially nice gift because you can pair them with anything. They can be dressed up or down and will complement any color. If your partner loves elegant pieces, a flowing strand of pearls will suit them perfectly. For an understated look, pearl drop earrings are a stylish way to show your love.
Year 5: The Sapphire Anniversary
The traditional 5th anniversary gift is wood. You’ve been together for half a decade, and have likely made some major life choices by now. Maybe you’ve bought a house, moved to a new place or started a family. The traditional 5th anniversary gift, wood, was chosen to symbolize the roots you are putting down as a couple. The anniversary stone, sapphire, brings its own unique meaning to this special occasion.
Believe it or not, long before any formal lists, sapphires were common anniversary gifts. An old European myth claimed that, if a person’s love for their spouse was diminishing, their sapphires would fade from blue to green. Giving the gift of a sapphire was like giving an assurance that you were still very much in love with your significant other. Today, of course, we know that the color-changing sapphire is just a legend. However, the romantic sentiment remains.
With its deep, striking blue, sapphire is the perfect gemstone for a statement piece. A cocktail ring or pendant necklace featuring a stunning sapphire makes a wonderful 5th anniversary gift, especially if you pair it with a night on the town that gives your spouse a chance to show it off.
Year 10: The Diamond Anniversary
A decade of marriage is a significant milestone, and what better way to mark the occasion than with dazzling diamonds?
The traditional gift for the tenth anniversary was tin or aluminum. These rugged metals were chosen to represent strength and durability, because after ten years of marriage, you and your spouse have built a powerful bond. It’s a heartfelt message, but it’s a bit of a challenge to come up with a romantic gift made of tin. Thankfully, you can say it all with diamonds.
For your tenth anniversary, consider a diamond upgrade. Many jewelry stores offer diamond trade-in and trade-up programs, including Cline Jewelers in Edmonds, Washington. You’ll bring in the diamonds you previously purchased at that store and receive their value back towards the purchase of a larger diamond. After ten years, you probably have a bigger budget than you did back when you proposed, so why not size up that engagement ring?
Anniversary bands are another heartfelt, diamond-studded gift. Many people purchase these diamond bands to commemorate major milestone anniversaries like the tenth, twentieth, and beyond.
Year 15: The Ruby Anniversary
Crystal, the traditional 15th anniversary gift, is emblematic of clarity. The importance of clarity in a relationship is underrated: in order to build long-term futures together, couples need clear communication, clear visions, and clear expectations.
Like crystal, rubies exemplify clarity, beauty and rarity. For thousands of years, rubies have been synonymous with passion and romance. We can’t help but think of romance when we see the beautiful spectrum of ruby reds. You may have settled into a comfortable routine after 15 years together, but your love burns as brightly as it did on your wedding day. That’s the beauty of a long-lasting marriage, and that’s the beauty of a ruby.
Rubies make excellent gemstones for rings. Ranking at a 9 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale (only diamonds score a 10), rubies are durable enough to withstand the minor bumps and scrapes of everyday wear. A ruby cocktail ring or ruby and diamond band are beautiful not only as gifts, but as gestures of love. You might also consider a pair of ruby and diamond halo drop earrings or a pair of delicate ruby studs.
Year 20: The Emerald Anniversary
Take a bow, because you’ve accomplished something truly special: two decades of marriage. Over the past twenty years, you and your spouse have changed, connected, and cared for one another in ways you never thought possible.
The traditional 20th anniversary gift is fine china or porcelain. The delicacy of these gifts represents the great care a couple must take to maintain harmony and balance for twenty years of marriage. The emerald, associated with truth and loyalty, emphasizes two of the most important elements in a harmonious relationship.
Let your partner keep your affections close to their heart. The gift of an emerald pendant is a treasure they can always carry with them. Not only is it visually stunning, it’s a reminder of an everlasting love.
For the Anniversary Gemstone Jewelry Your Partner Deserves, Visit Cline Jewelers in Edmonds, Washington!
Too often, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day lives and forget to appreciate the people that matter most to us. Marriage is life’s most important commitment, and nobody sticks by us quite like our partners do. So when your anniversary comes around, make a point to celebrate!
For the jewelry gifts you need to honor each passing year, come visit us at Cline Jewelers in the Seattle, Washington area. Not only do we carry a wide selection of fine jewelry and estate pieces, but we also have an incredible custom design team that can bring your dream jewelry to life. So whether you have the perfect gift in mind or you’d like to create something brand new, we’re here to help make each anniversary better than the last.