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Ashley
Expert November 2020

Anniversary Gifts: Traditional to Modern

Ashley, on December 20, 2019 at 1:23 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 1 4
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The practice of giving specific anniversary gifts based on how many years you’ve been married is nothing new in the wedding world. The meaning behind the specificity of each year is rooted in the growth of your marriage and how the longer you’re married, the stronger your bond and relationship.These gifts start off simple as your marriage just began and their substance and significance grows over the years just as your investment in each other. We’ve compiled a list of all the year-specific anniversary gifts in their traditional sense and put a modern twist on them.


1-Year Anniversary Gift

Traditional Gift: Paper

Paper is a fitting gift to celebrate your first year of marriage because it represents how fragile marriage is in the beginning stages. If you take proper care of the paper, though, it can last a lifetime.

Modern Gift: Clocks

Time is our most precious asset and clocks represent the passing of time and the changes and challenges that come in the first years of marriage.

Gemstone: Gold

While gold is not technically a gemstone, it’s the perfect special metal to transition couples into more luxurious gift-giving. A simple gold bracelet for her and a gold tie clip for him would make for perfect gifts to celebrate your first year of marriage.


2-Year Anniversary Gift

Traditional Gift: Cotton

The woven threads of cotton symbolize how you’ve become more interconnected as time passes and how you’ve learned to be more flexible.

Modern Gift: China

China, both strong and delicate, indicates the weaknesses and strengths of every relationship.

Gemstone: Garnet

While garnet comes in a variety of colors, red garnet is most commonly used for this anniversary. Cufflinks with red garnet stones for him and red garnet earrings make for special gifts for your second year together.


3-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Leather

Leather represents the shelter and security that comes with your third year of marriage, symbolizing the home you build with each other.

Modern Gift: Crystal or Glass

Glass and cut crystals both signify and reflect the beauty and light around it, much like how you two bring out the beauty and light in each other.

Gemstone Pearl

Pearls are a symbol of wisdom and beauty and form many layers over time. The longer they form, the more beautiful they become, just like your marriage. A pearl necklace for her and a pearl tie tack for him are sure to put a smile on their face.


4-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Fruit or Flowers

By your fourth year of marriage, your relationship has fully bloomed, just as fruit and flowers bloom over time.

Modern Gift: Appliances

You’re reached the more practical gift phase, but appliances embody how settled you feel in your relationship.

Gemstone: Blue Topaz

Blue Topaz has long been associated with love, romance, and affection. This gemstone is perfect to set into a necklace or ring for each other.


5-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Wood

The roots of your marriage have sprouted like a tree and the wood signifies that your can endure anything together.

Modern Gift: Silverware

Silverware commemorates all the meals you’ve enjoyed together and will continue to share.

Gemstone: Sapphire

Similar to wood, sapphire is a durable material that can withstand the test of time, just as your marriage has. A wrist watch with sapphires makes for a stunning gift for both him and her.


6-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Iron

Iron marks your strength over these six years and how you’ve maintained such a strong bond.

Modern Gift: Wood

Pulling from the traditional five-year gift, and item made of wood symbolizes the resilience of your marriage.

Gemstone: Amethyst

Amethyst is made of quartz, which is a strong, heavy stone, making it a gift with lasting power and strength. An amethyst business card holder can make the perfect accent for the workplace or home desk.


7-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Copper or Wool

Copper helps create heat, much like the warmth you give each other, and wool is just as cozy.

Modern Gift: Desk Sets

While this might not sound romantic, work is a huge part of modern life and giving a desk set helps bring a touch of home to their work space.

Gemstone: Onyx

Onyx is a hard and durable stone that is often used for carving. It’s believed to protect marriages from strains and trials while also representing harmony. Carved onyx goblets/shot glasses or carved onyx bookends are unique gifts that will make your seven year anniversary extra special.


8-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Bronze or Pottery

Bronze symbolizes strength and indicates that your relationship is only growing stronger through the years.

Modern Gift: Linen or Lace

Linens and lace are both delicate and refined, just like your love. They’re also objects of beauty.

Gemstone: Tourmaline

Tourmaline is tough against damage and long-lasting. This stone is thought to do many things, including bolster relationships.A tourmaline keychain is the perfect accessory for anyone and will remind them of your whenever they see it.


9-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Willow or Pottery

Willow indicates flexibility as does pottery because much like a lump of clay, marriage is formed and shaped over time into something beautiful.

Modern Gift: Leather

Leather was used by our ancestors as a means to protect themselves. The material itself is known for how well it endures, which your marriage has done for the past nine years.

Gemstone: Lapis Lazuli

This stone is used in feng shui to balance negative and positive energies, and is said to encourage honesty as it protects your relationship from any dangers. Lapis Lazuli bracelets are a sweet sentiment to give each other as a means of protection of self and relationship.


10-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Aluminum or Tin

Aluminum and tin don’t rust, meaning they won’t wear down. Their pliability and preservation is a symbol for how every successful marriage requires flexibility.

Modern Gift: Diamond Jewelry

When you’ve passed one decade, your marriage is as beautiful as a diamond!

Gemstone: Diamond

This is the first major milestone you’re marriage will reach so it’s only fitting that it qualifies a diamond. Many couples use this anniversary to add to their wedding rings or to do something unique like constellation steck rings or play off the whole “diamond” theme and get them a gift based off a baseball diamond.


11-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Steel

Steel is one of the strongest metals on earth, so it’s not surprising that it represents your eleven year mark since by this time, nothing can break your bond.

Modern Gift: Fashion Jewelry

While this gift sounds more surprising than the steel, it never gets old and it’s wearable everyday so they’ll remember the sentiment every time they put it on.

Gemstone: Turquoise

Turquoise is one of the oldest charms against evil because it not only protects against evil, but it also brings good health, fortune, and peace. Turquoise pins or bookmarks are wonderful sentiments to ensure that wherever they go, whatever they’re doing, they're protected.


12-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Silk or Linen

As they say, home is where the heart is, and these are two home decor staples. Anniversary presents made from these materials symbolize the life you’ve built together.

Modern Gift: Pearl

Finding a good pearl is like finding a hidden treasure, just like how it felt when you found the love of your life.

Gemstone: Jade

Jade is known to attract love, protection and prosperity. A carved jade stamp is a stunning and special gift for both of you!


13-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Lace

This year is anything but unlucky 13. Lace shows elegance and beauty of the sanctity of marriage for the thirteenth year.

Modern Gift: Textiles or Furs

Different fabrics represent the comfort and warmth thirteen years or marriage brings, but if you’re going for fur, make it faux fur.

Gemstone: Citrine

Bright yellow citrine will bring both joy and love to your significant other. Unique citrine healing crystals or a citrine candle are sure to put a smile on your significant other’s face.


14-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Ivory

Ivory to celebrate the fourteenth anniversary originates from Hindu mythology and signifies luck and protection. Look for elephant themed gifts instead of actual ivory. You can find plenty of off-white materials that look just like ivory.

Modern Gift: Gold Jewelry

Just as significant, gold jewelry represents unification, eternity, and perfection.

Gemstone: Opal

This gorgeous multicolor stone symbolizes love, passion, and desire. Talk about a romantic stone! Opal pens are a stunning addition to any desk, whether it’s at work or home, it’ll bring feelings of love with a single touch.


15-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Crystal

Crystal may be delicate, but it’s also sturdy, like your marriage that is strong enough to have lasted fifteen years and beyond. It also represents clarity and transparency.

Modern gift: Watches

A timepiece in any form signifies the passage of time and all the years you’ve spent together and the ones you’ll share in the future.

Gemstone: Ruby

By fifteen years, the fame is still burning strong, so it’s only makes sense that a ruby commemorates this year. A unique, non-jewelry, gift option could be ruby red coasters that look like geodes or a ruby red article of clothing.


16-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Wax

Just like a candle, you and your significant other have an undeniable spark!

Modern Gift: Silver Hollowware

Think anything related to the dinner table that isn’t silverware - bowls, trays, etc. Silver Hollowware symbolizes unity since you’ll enjoy it when you sit down to dinner for your sixteenth anniversary and all future anniversaries.

Gemstone: Peridot

Peridot is a symbol of undying love and devotion. Peridot is a beautiful green so feel free to think outside the box and make a terrarium together!


17-Year Anniversary

Traditional & Modern Gift: Furniture

Gifting each other furniture represents the security, comfort, and familiarity of a marriage that has been established for seventeen years.

Gemstone: Carnelian

Known as the stone of endurance that also brings joy and warmth, it helps keep a sense of humor in the relationship. A carnelian gemstone tree makes for a statement piece in any house that will fill your home with warmth and laughter.


18-Year Anniversary

Traditional & Modern Gift: Porcelain

Elegant and refined, but also delicate, porcelain signifies the hard work you’ve put into your marriage to keep it going strong for eighteen years. A porcelain gift serves as a reminder to continue to handle your relationship with care.

Gemstone: Cat’s Eye

Named for its resemblance to a cat’s eye, this stone keeps a watchful eye over both of you and removes any melancholy from your lives. Beyond that, It also represents love, commitment, and happiness. Since this stone holds significant power, an item that your significant other can keep with them at all times such as a visor clip for the car or a rearview mirror decoration.


19-Year Anniversary

Traditional & Modern Gift: Bronze

Just like the traditional eight-year gift, bronze indicated that your relationship has grown stronger. Additionally, it symbolizes healthy within your union even through tough times, since some believe it has healing properties.

Gemstone: Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a protection stone that will keep everything that’s bad out but still hold onto all the love from the past nineteen years. An aquamarine jewelry dish would be a beautiful gift that holds onto your love (wedding rings) whenever you’re not wearing them.


20-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: China

China shows the delicate and fragile nature of being in love. It needs to be looked after and handled carefully, just like marriage.

Modern Gift: Platinum

Platinum can stick it out through thick and thin, much like you and your significant other have even after twenty years.

Gemstone: Emerald

The sacred stone of the goddess Venus, emerald is known to preserve love so you can celebrate another twenty years together. An emerald compact mirror for her and an emerald cigar stick for him are unique gifts to commemorate your twenty years together.


25-Year Anniversary

Traditional & Modern Gift: Sterling Silver

Spending a quarter of a century in love is definitely worth celebrating with such a precious and valuable metal. After all, twenty-five years is known as the “silver jubilee.”

Gemstone: Silver

Like gold, silver isn’t technically a gemstone; however, silver jewelry radiates brilliantly, like your love, and symbolically represents a clear vision and lucidity for the future. A silver anniversary clock is an endearing sentiment that displays the years, months, hours, minutes, and seconds that have passed since your wedding day.


30-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Pearl

Deep down in the ocean, you’ll find precious pearls. They represent the hidden beauty of a long-lasting union with maturity that reveals itself from within.

Modern Gift: Diamond

A diamond’s long-lasting endurance, beauty, and strength appropriately reflects the nature of a thirty-year marriage.

Gemstone: Pearl

Both pure and elegant, pearls are as timeless as your marriage. A pearl sundial is a beautiful piece that shows your wedding date and how many years you’ve been together.


35-Year Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Coral

Coral from the ocean is believed to have healing powers that shield you from harm, similar to how the love you have for each other protects your union.

Modern Gift: Jade

Jade represents luck, wealth, wisdom, and passionate love in relation to so many years of marriage.

Gemstone: Emerald

Emerald symbolizes long-lasting love and preservation. As a memorable gift, consider making your own stained glass item with a variety of green shades.


40-Year Anniversary

Traditional & Modern Gift: Ruby

Rubies are thought to possess a flame that never burns out, much like your love and commitment after forty-years of marriage.

Gemstone: Ruby

Keeping with the theme, the precious ruby honors this momentous occasion. To represent the flame of the ruby, ruby candle holders make for a gift that is sure to keep the fire going for another forty-years.


45-Year Anniversary

Traditional & Modern Gift: Sapphire

Sapphires have long been associated with royalty and indicate the longevity of your marriage.

Gemstone: Sapphire

The sapphire gemstone is a shining example to those who also aspire to remain in love for so many years. An endearing keepsake to commemorate this incredible anniversary could be something as simple as a personalized, sapphire family tree that shows how much your love has grown not only between the two of you, but those around you as well.


50-Year Anniversary

Traditional & Modern Gift: Gold

Only something as desirable, classic, and luxe as gold can represent such an important milestone dubbed the “golden anniversary.” It shows the prosperity, wisdom, strength and significance of such a long-standing union.

Gemstone: Gold

Not only is gold beautiful, but it’s also strong and resistance to corrosion and is often associated with wealth, wisdom, and optimism. A love that can last fifty years is incredibly unique, so it calls for a unique gift such as a stone and gold sculpture.


55-Year Anniversary

Traditional & Modern Gift: Emerald

Why are emeralds such a popular anniversary theme? It’s simple: they signify true love as well as devotion and adoration.

Gemstone: Alexandrite

Known for dispelling negative vibes and bringing positive ones in, Alexandrite brings good fortune and prosperity. It’s also undeniably cool in how it’s rare and changes colors in different light. A matching scarf and tie/bow tie would make for a perfect gift to each other that displaces the many colors of alexandrite.


60-Year Anniversary

Traditional & Modern Gift: Diamond

By the time you’ve reached sixty years of marriage, it’s time to pull out all the stops. Celebrating such a special anniversary like this one calls for a stone that represents unconquerable and enduring love.

Gemstone: Diamond

The fire in a diamond indicates an undying love that cannot be dulled. Most couples use this astonishing milestone to upgrade their significant other’s wedding ring with a larger diamond. If you’re looking for something simpler, consider Swarovski crystal love bird figurines.

4 Comments

Latest activity by Tara, on September 25, 2020 at 11:07 AM
  • Clíodhna
    WeddingWire Administrator January 2030
    Clíodhna ·
    • Flag

    Thanks for sharing, Ashley Smiley smile

    • Reply
  • Ashley
    Dedicated July 2019
    Ashley ·
    • Flag
    Yea idk...he got me jewelry and I got us e bikes😂🕺🎉
    • Reply
  • Ashley
    Expert November 2020
    Ashley ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    Those sound like great gifts. This list is just the traditional gifts for each anniversary (I did not make it up), I only added a modern twist to them as a way to think outside the box.
    • Reply
  • Tara
    Super November 2016
    Tara ·
    • Flag

    I just found this article looking for ideas for my upcoming 4th anniversary. Thank you so much for all this information! This is great Smiley heart

    • Reply

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