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History of Anniversary Gifts

Medieval Times

"The practice of giving peculiar gifts on various wedding anniversaries originated in Central Europe. Among the medieval Germans it was customary for friends to present a wife with a wreath of silver when she had lived with her husband twenty-five years. The silver symbolized the harmony that was assumed to be necessary to make so many years of matrimony possible. On the fiftieth anniversary of a wedding the wife was presented with a wreath of gold. Hence arose 'silver wedding' and 'golden wedding.' This practice, borrowed from the Germans, has been elaborated upon in modern times" - INFORMATION ROUNDUP by George Stimpson (1948) .

Modern Times

By middle-to-late 1930s, people began to celebrate 1st, 10th, 20th and 70th anniversary along with 25th and 50th. A gift for each of these milestone anniversary years evolved. The logic of presenting gifts was that stability deserves a reward and more the stability the greater should be the reward.

In 1937 the American National Retail Jeweler Association issued a more comprehensive list which associated a material for each Anniversary year up to the 15th Anniversary and then each fifth year after that up to the 60th Anniversary.

"Although the first anniversary is considered the paper or plastic one, the second, cotton and so on, it is not mandatory that the gift be of the "appropriate" material or composition for the specific year. The exception is in the case of the tenth (tin or aluminum) and twenty-fifth, which is known as the "silver anniversary." In these cases, the gift usually "goes" with the anniversary. For other years it is equally correct, and often more interesting, to buy what seems appropriate for the particular couple and carry out the theme in the wrapping or decorating of the package. Thus a gift for the seventh anniversary could be wrapped in copper-colored paper, a lace handkerchief might decorate the package for the thirteenth, and so on." - ETIQUETTE FOR MODERNS by Elinor Ames (1965).

An alternative list to the traditional anniversary list is also in popular use and is known as the Contemporary (or Modern) Wedding Anniversary list. It has been around for a number of years now, which makes its title rather misleading as none of the items listed are particularly modern.

This list provides alternative material suggestions for the years and include "modern" items such as electrical appliances and Fashion Jewelry. This is a more comprehensive list than the traditional list and associates a material for ever year up until the 50th Wedding Anniversary. It also goes on in steps of every 5th year up until the 100th Wedding Anniversary.



Links will be added


Traditional Gifts

1st       Paper or Plastic
2nd      Cotton
3rd       Leather
4th       Linen or Silk
            Fruit & Flowers
5th       Wood
6th       Iron or Candy
7th       Wool or Copper
8th       Bronze or Pottery
9th       Willow, Pottery or China
10th     Tin or Aluminum
11th     Steel
12th     Silk or Linen
13th     Lace
14th     Ivory
15th     Crystal
20th     China
25th     Silver
30th     Pearl
35th     Coral or Jade
40th     Ruby
45th     Sapphire
50th     Gold
55th     Emerald
60th     Diamond
70th     Platinum
75th     Diamonds and Gold

Modern Gifts

1st       Clocks
2nd      China
3rd       Crystal or Glass
4th       Appliances
5th       Silverware
6th       Wood objects
7th       Desk accessories
8th       Linen or Lace
9th       Leather goods
10th     Diamond
11th     Fashion jewelry
12th     Pearls or colored gems
13th     Textiles or Fur
14th     Gold jewelry
15th     Watches
16th     Silver Holloware
17th     Furniture
18th     Porcelain
19th     Bronze
20th     Platinum
21st     Brass or Nickel
22nd    Copper
23rd     Silver plate
24th     Musical instruments
25th     Sterling silver
26th     Original pictures
27th     Sculpture
28th     Orchids
29th     New furniture
30th     Diamond
31st     Timepieces
32nd     Conveyances
            (ex. Automobiles)
33rd     Amethyst
34th     Opal
35th     Jade
36th     Bone china
37th     Alabaster
38th     Beryl or Tourmaline
39th     Lace
40th     Ruby
41st     Land
42nd     Improved real estate
43rd     Travel
44th     Groceries
45th     Sapphire
46th     Original poetry tribute
47th     Books
48th     Optical goods (ex.
            telescope, microscope)
49th     Luxuries of any kind
50th     Gold
55th     Emerald or Turquoise
60th     Diamond
70th     Diamond and Gold
80th     Diamond and Pearl
85th     Diamond and Sapphire
90th     Diamond and Emerald
95th     Diamond and Ruby
100th   10-Carat Diamond

Flower Gifts

1st       Pansy
2nd      Cosmos
3rd       Fuchsia
4th       Geranium
5th       Daisy
6th       Calla Lily
7th       Jack in the Pulpit
8th       Clematis
9th       Poppy
10th     Daffodil
11th     Morning Glory
13th     Hollyhock
14th     Dahlia
15th     Rose
20th     Day Lily
25th     Iris
28th     Orchid
30th     Sweet Peas
40th     Nasturtium
50th     Violet

Stones and
Precious Metals

1st     Gold
2nd    Garnet (all colors)
3rd     Pearls
4th      Blue Topaz
          Blue Zircon
5th     Sapphire (all colors)
          Pink Tourmaline
6th     Amethyst
7th     Onyx
          Yellow Sapphire or Golden
8th     Tourmaline (all colors)
9th     Lapis Lazuli 
          Amethyst or Green Spinel
10th   Diamond
          Blue Sapphire
11th   Turquoise
          Citrine or Yellow Zircon
12th    Jade
13th   Citrine
Moonstone, Hawk’s Eye
15th   Ruby
          Rhodolite Garnet
16th   Peridot
          (evening emerald)
          Red Spinel
17th   Watches
18th   Cat’s Eye
          or Chrysoberyl
19th   Aquamarine
          Almandine Garnet
20th   Emerald
          Yellow or Golden Diamond
21st    Iolite
22nd   Spinel (all colors)
23rd    Imperial Topaz
24th    Tanzanite
25th    Silver Jubilee
30th    Pearl Jubilee
35th    Emerald
40th    Ruby
45th    Sapphire
           Cat’s Eye
50th    Golden Jubilee
55th    Alexandrite
60th    Diamond Jubilee
65th    Blue Spinel
70th    Sapphire Jubilee
75th    Diamond Jubilee
80th    Ruby Jubilee