It is traditional to give a piece of gemstone jewellery to mark important wedding anniversaries. Each wedding anniversary is celebrated with a different gemstone - a list of which is given at the end of this article.
If you are buying a gift to celebrate your wedding anniversary, then please take a look at our fine jewellery collection, which features outstanding pieces perfect for a special occasion.
The tradition of giving particular gifts on wedding anniversaries is thought to have originated in Central Europe. In medieval Germany, it was the custom for a wife to recieve a wreath of silver on her 25th wedding anniversary, from those who were close friends. The silver represented the harmony within the marriage that had been necessary for the union to have lasted so long. Similarly, after fifty years the wife was crowned with a golden wreath, which symbolised optimism, wealth and beauty. It if from these two occasions that the tradition of the silver wedding and golden wedding arose. Although there are other references to materials being given on different anniversaries, such as wood for the fifth anniversary and copper for the twelfth and a half, it is clear that the list of anniversaries we have today has been heavily elaborated on. Indeed in 1922 Mrs. Emily Post, a well-known author on the subject of modern etiquette, wrote about 'eight anniversaries known to all' (listing the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries). She then recognized the trend toward celebrating additonal anniversaries and listed a symbolic anniversary gift for each of the first fifteen years of marriage, with one for every five years after that.
Anniversaries started to become a more commercial affair in 1937, when the American National Retail Jewellers Association issued a more comprehensive list. A list that associated a material for each anniversary year up to the 20th, and then each fifth year after that up to the 75th (with the exception of the 65th).
Over time, then, the tradition of celebrating anniversaries with the giving of gifts has developed a list of metals and stones, usually found in the form of fine jewellery. The different properties of the metals and stones are meant to represent different aspects of the relationship, such as purity, strength, integrity and commitment.
Anniversary Gemstones & Metals