While nobody knows for sure how or when traditional anniversary gifts first started, most people attribute the tradition to the Medieval times, when wives were given a silver and gold wreath to celebrate their 25th and 50th wedding anniversaries. Other traditions came later. Many experts believe that the tradition of gifting diamonds for the 60th anniversary can be attributed to Queen Victoria, who celebrated her “Diamond Jubilee” as her 60th anniversary on the British throne.
While anniversary gifts have been a common tradition since Medieval times, author Emily Post was the first person to publish a list of anniversary ideas in her book, Etiquette, published in 1922. Post initially suggested gift ideas for the first, fifth, tenth, fifteenth, twentieth, twenty-fifth and fiftieth years of marriage. This list was expanded to include gifts for each of the first fifteen years of marriage when Post’s book was reprinted in 1957. Overtime, this list has been modified to include gift ideas that encompass many more years of marriage. The Modern Gift Suggestions list was created by the librarians at the Chicago Public Library to offer substitutions for gift ideas that seem out-of-date (or that your significant other wouldn’t like). We are unsure about who came up with the Anniversary Flowers List, but we like the idea, so we decided to include it.
It is unclear who established the Traditional Anniversary Gemstone List, but this list has gained general acceptance in the jewelry community, being endorsed by Jewelers of America (JA), the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), The American Gem Society (AGS) and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The alternate list has been compiled by us, from our own research and has not been accepted or endorsed by any major jewelry association or publication.
|Year||Anniversary Tradition||Traditional Alternative|
|18||Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl||Opal|
|65||Star Sapphire||Star Ruby|
|Year||Anniversary Gift Tradition||Modern Gift Suggestions|
|4||Linen, Silk||Electrical Appliances|
|6||Iron, Sweets||Wood Objects|
|7||Wool, Copper||Desk Set, Pen and Pencil Set|
|9||Pottery, Copper||Leather Goods|
|10||Tin, Aluminum||Diamond Jewelry|
|12||Silk||Pearls or colored gemstones|
|25||Sterling Silver||Sterling Silver|
|75||Diamond, Gold||Diamond, Gold|
|85||Moonstone, Wine||Wife’s Birthstone|
|90||Stone||Engraved Marble, Granite|
|2||Lily of the Valley|
|9||Bird of paradise|
|50||Yellow rose, violet|