You might have heard of silver jubilee, golden jubilee and diamond jubilee. Silver jubilee is the celebration of 15 years in marriage, golden is 50 years and diamond is 60 years. But you may be wondering where these got their names from, don’t you?
Traditional anniversary gifts by year are an ancient way of appreciating the lifetime commitment that your partner makes to you. This long-standing convention dates back to the medieval era and it involves gifting your marriage partner a significant gift for the number of years you have spent together.
The idea of these anniversary gifts by year involves a gradually increasing gift value item as the marriage gets older. As people get older in their marriage, it is easy to forget to give memorable gifts to your partner but anniversary dates often come as a reminder. However, while it is not out of place to get the most expensive anniversary gift for your partner on your first anniversary, the traditional anniversary gifts by year make the first year gift less valuable while the subsequent ones become more valuable each successive year.
Let’s see a full description of traditional anniversary gift ideas to get your partner as you grow older and stronger together, beginning from paper (of weakest value) to diamond (of greatest strength).
Anniversary Gifts By Year
Giving gifts to your partner as you grow together can become increasingly difficult. You might not be exactly sure what would please them or what would not. In a bid to prevent the disappointment that may result, an American writer named Emily Post invented a standard way of gifting your partner in her book titled “Etiquette”, published in 1922. In this book, she suggested several wedding anniversary themes for the 1st, 5th and every 5 consecutive years up to the 25th year. These themes represented the traditional anniversary gift etiquette.
Years later, in 1937, the American National Retail Jeweler Association (AMRJA) expanded this list to not include every year from 1 to 25 years of marriage, and then every fifth year up until the 75th anniversary. In recent times, a modern list of anniversary gifts by year has also been drawn up, which includes modern gift items different from the traditional anniversary gifts by year.
More than the silver jubilee and the golden year that you probably already know about, in this article, you will learn more about the traditional and modern anniversary gifts for each year.
Traditional and Modern Anniversary Gifts (Updated List)
For ease of understanding, I will write on both traditional and modern anniversary gifts for each year represented on the list, and finally, wrap it up with a concise table afterwards. The basic idea of the anniversary gifts for every year represented is based on finding your partner a gift based on the theme for the anniversary year. The modern anniversary theme also features some extra things like anniversary colour and gemstone.
1st Anniversary Gifts – Paper & Clock
On your first wedding anniversary, the euphoria of your wedding the previous year might not seem to have worn off but anniversaries still deserve some gifts, don’t they? Paper represents the traditional wedding anniversary gift theme; a symbol of connectivity and strength of the forever journey you have committed to embark on together. Paper is like a clean canvas you can write your own story on. So, it reminds you both of the amazing things you can create out of this union.
The modern anniversary gift for the first year of marriage is represented by a clock; a symbol of the timelessness of the life you have together as a couple. The first-anniversary colour is yellow or gold, and the gemstone is gold.
These can feature in any gift idea, material or jewellery.
The second wedding anniversary is about recognizing the continuity and growth of your relationship. Hence, the perfect traditional anniversary theme is represented by cotton as its interwoven fibres represent the growing bond between you and your partner.
China (a type of porcelain ware) represent the modern anniversary gift theme for the second year. China in its beauty and sophistication is timeless and enduring but is also fragile. Hence, this anniversary gift reminds you of the strength and foreverness of your union but also reminds you of the fragility of your young union and the need for you to continually put in your best care and attention.
The second-anniversary gift colour is red and the gemstone is garnet.
3rd Anniversary Gifts – Leather & Glass/Crystal
Leather is the traditional anniversary gift for the first year. It is strong, durable and protective, and represents the increasing strength of your relationship together. One thing you will keep observing across these anniversary gifts is the increasing strength and value of the gift themes as the union ages.
The modern gift counterpart for the third year is represented by crystal or glass. Glass or crystal is fragile but with adequate care, objects from these materials can outlive centuries. Same with your love and commitment to each other.
White is the colour for the third anniversary and pearl is the chosen gemstone.
4th Anniversary Gifts – Silk/Linen or Fruit/Flowers, & Appliances
The traditional anniversary gift for the fourth year is based on silk or linen (in some areas) and fruits or flowers in other places like the United States. These represent the sweetness and continuous blossoming of your relationship to full maturity. You should get him or her some fruits, recreate your wedding bouquet or plant a garden together.
All things being equal, you should be expecting kids by now or even already have a kid(s). The modern anniversary theme for the fourth year, thus, prompts you to get some electrical appliances in the home to simplify life and chores in the family.
The gift items should have a tone of the year’s blue and green colours which also mimics the gemstone for the fourth anniversary – the blue topaz. Featuring the blue topaz, considered the gemstone for deep emotions, communication, and compassion, I have hopes that your relationship will be ever blossoming and joyous.
5th Anniversary Gifts – Wood & Silverware
Cheers for making it halfway into a decade. To celebrate this milestone, couples traditionally gift each other items of wood to reflect the strength and durability of the marriage so far, as well as the strong eternal roots you are laying down.
Silverware represents the modern gift for the fifth anniversary. Silverwares may not appear so sophisticated but they reflect the bond you’ve formed from your shared meals on silverware, your shared decisions and achievements over the past years.
Sapphire represents the traditional fifth-anniversary gemstone, blue and pink are the customary colours, and daisies are the five-year flower. Sapphires are said to symbolize faithfulness and sincerity, a beautiful representation of the virtues of your relationship.
6th Anniversary Gifts – Candy/Iron & Wood
Six years and still loving it. Gifts on the sixth anniversary are designed to remind you of the sweetness of your earlier years of dating and up to the wedding day. Candies are sweet, just like your wedding cake, and it is only reasonable to have a second taste of the sweetness after six years. Iron is another traditional representation of the sixth-anniversary gift and it connotes an ever-growing strength of the union.
The modern anniversary gift for the sixth year is themed on wood, which is forever strong and mature. For your sixth wedding anniversary, give gifts in the colours of white, turquoise, or purple. The majestic amethyst gemstone is symbolic of this anniversary as it is said to have protective properties, to celebrate the protection you have received so far in your relationship with your spouse.
7th Anniversary Gifts – Wool/Copper & Desk set
Copper or wool represents the traditional anniversary gifts for the seventh year. And although these two items may not be so identical, they have one thing in common – warmth and thermal balance. Wool is an insulator and copper is a conductor of heat, reflecting the balance and warmth you have achieved in your relationship.
A desk set is the modern alternative to the seventh-year anniversary gifts. It shows your undying support for your partner in his work and ambitions. The colours of the seventh anniversary are off-white and yellow, and the gemstone is the dignified onyx stones.
8th Anniversary Gifts – Salt/Pottery & Linen/Lace
The traditional eight-anniversary gift is bronze, symbolizing strength. Bronze is an alloy of two different metals and this represents the blend you have achieved with your partner The modern alternative for this year’s anniversary is linen or lace material. In the same vein, linen and lace are generally regarded as objects of refinement and blending, signifying how much your love for each other has been refined over the past eight years For your eighth anniversary, a bronze-coloured theme is recommended. The gemstone for this milestone is tourmaline
9th Anniversary Gifts – Pottery & Leather
Pottery is the traditional ninth-anniversary gift; copper in the UK. The modern alternative is leather. Pottery signifies the moldability of the relationship into a more beautiful and lasting one in the next years; while leather represents durability and flexibility.
The ninth anniversary colour is the rich-red terracotta, while lapis lazuli is the choice gemstone for the ninth year anniversary.
Just by the way, lapis lazuli is also Knowseeker’s theme gem colour. It’s funny, but we hope our ninth year as a creative blog will bring more good luck and greater heights than ever before.
10th Anniversary Gifts – Tin or Aluminum & Diamonds
The decade-long anniversary gift is traditionally tin or aluminium, which symbolizes the strength and resilience of your marriage. The modern alternative is diamond b and it reflects the marriage’s love and durability. If you and your partner have planned on upgrading your wedding ring, the 10th year anniversary is the perfect milestone to do that. In the traditional anniversary gift model, diamonds come much later but they are appearing in tenth-anniversary gifts in the modern version. Diamonds, they say, are every girl’s best friend and they will surely make the last ten years memorable for your woman.
Silver and blue are the colours of choice during the tenth anniversary. Make sure not to miss this love custom, even when you might feel too busy to remember.
11th Anniversary Gifts – Steel & Fashion Jewelry
In the last eleven years, your relationship has grown stronger and stronger, and this should be recognized on this eleventh anniversary. Steel, one of the strongest metals, is very significant in the anniversary gifts for the eleventh year.
The modern anniversary gifts for the eleventh anniversary are fashion jewellery of any kind. While turquoise is the colour of choice for this anniversary. Turquoise is also the gemstone of the eleventh anniversary and it signifies healing, romance and love.
12th Anniversary Gifts – Silk/Linen & Pearls
The journey that started some time ago is now twelve years older and stronger. As a sign that you are grateful for how it has been thus far, silk or linen has been traditionally recommended as the gifts for the twelfth year anniversary.
The modern anniversary gift guide indicated pearls as the gift theme for this anniversary. Both the silk or linen in the traditional model and the pearls in the modern guide reflect the need to spice up your life with some items of opulence and luxury as a way of showing gratitude for your relationship.
The colour of the year is oyster white, while jade is the gemstone of choice.
13th Anniversary Gifts – Lace & Furs or Textiles
The traditional gift for the 13th anniversary is lace, reflecting the delicateness of the balance of a steady marriage. Modern gifts on the 13th anniversary keep up with the theme of furs and textiles, while the pure colour white is the chosen colour.
Citrines are the gemstones of the 13th anniversary. Citrines are vibrant gemstones that encourage us to remain joyful and vibrant through life as we live together with the love of our life.
14th Anniversary Gifts – Ivory & Gold
The 14th anniversary is traditionally celebrated by exchanging gifts made from animals. The original item used to commemorate this year was ivory but this was later amended as the practice of sourcing elephant ivory was putting the animals at risk of endangerment. In place of this, any animal item or activities like going horse-riding, visiting the safari, and others could also be considered.
The modern option for this year’s anniversary is gold, while the colour remains ivory in accordance with the former traditional anniversary gift for this year. Gem enthusiasts should opt for opals, which are also very symbolic of love, passion and fiery desire.
15th Anniversary Gifts – Crystal & Watches
Fifteen years in marriage is no joke at all. By this, I mean you have to present a symbolic gift that reflects the clarity and sparkle in your marriage. Crystal is the traditional anniversary gift of the fifteenth year and it symbolizes clarity and sparkles of all the beautiful facets of your relationship.
In the modern age when most of the traditional anniversary gift items have seemingly become obsolete, watches serve as the modern anniversary gifts for the fifteenth year, signifying the value of your time together (past, present and future).
Ruby is the gemstone and red is the traditional 15th-anniversary colour.
16th Anniversary Gifts – Wax
The traditional 16th-anniversary gift is wax. It is hard and tough at first but can be easily melted and malleable with the right spark. It represents your commitment to identifying the necessary ingredients and sparks in your marriage.
The modern version utilizes silver hollow wares as the choice gift for the 16th anniversary. Hollow wares refer to all items of the table setting without the cutlery. Silver colour and emerald green are representative of this year and peridots are the 16th-anniversary gemstones.
17th Anniversary Gifts – Furniture
It’s okay to be lost on what exactly to get your partner on your 17th anniversary but according to the traditional and modern anniversary gift guides, furniture is a great option. It symbolises how your family has been built together from various pieces since the beginning.
The colour of choice is yellow, and the carnelian is the gemstone of the 17th anniversary. Carnelian is a vibrant energetic gemstone known to awaken a zest for life, power and creativity. Thus, this 17th-anniversary gemstone represents a renewal of energy for more life ahead together with your partner.
18th Anniversary Gifts – Porcelain
Porcelain is the fine end result of clay being heated at extremely high temperatures. Eighteen years of marriage and still strong together, porcelain is the traditional and modern anniversary gift to reflect how you have gone through these years of refining and becoming something better.
Blue is the 18th-anniversary colour and Cat’s Eye is the gemstone of choice.
19th Anniversary Gifts– Bronze
Congratulations thus far. Just a year short of the 20-year mark. To celebrate this milestone, both the traditional and modern anniversary gifts recommend you get a bronze-themed item for your partner. bronze is an alloy with an earthy colour that is often used to reward third-place competitors in a tournament. You have come this far but better days are ahead of you.
Bronze is also the colour of the year, and the gemstones aquamarine, add some pure brightness to the earthy nature of this anniversary.
20th Anniversary Gifts – China & Platinum
China was the modern anniversary gift for the second anniversary and it is featured here again as the traditional gift for this twentieth anniversary. It still matches this anniversary because china reminds you of the delicateness of your relationship, how much you have had to care for it and how much more commitment you need to put into it to make it last forever.
The modern gift for the 20th anniversary should be themed on platinum, a strong metal which symbolizes strength in your marriage.
Emerald is the traditional 20th-anniversary gemstone and green colour is the colour associated with this milestone.
25th Anniversary Gifts – Silver
here comes the silver anniversary we have been waiting for. Halfway into the golden year and you are still blossoming in your love for each other. Silver is the 25th-anniversary gift for both the traditional and modern guide, and it reflects the brilliance and shine of your marriage. Silver is a valuable metal, which means your forever partner deserves something valuable for their efforts in loving your forever.
The tradition of using silver as the 25th-anniversary gift started during the Middle Ages when men would commemorate the milestone by gifting their wives a wreath of silver for their hair. As you may have guessed, the silver colour is the choice for this anniversary. Although not a gemstone, silver has also been associated with the 25th-anniversary gem.
30th Anniversary Gifts – Pearl & Diamond
Pearl symbolizes innocence and honesty, and they are the traditional gift of the 30th anniversary. The modern counterpart falls back to diamonds for the second time (recall, diamonds were also the modern gift theme for the 10th anniversary).
While green is the colour of this year, pearls also represent this year’s gemstone. Pearls are symbolic of divinity and wisdom, to commemorate the many years of increasing wisdom and understanding in your marriage. Golden pearls are said to bring luck and prosperity, white pearls and the green colour of this anniversary are linked to fertility. May this year bring more peace, harmony and love.
35th Anniversary Gifts – Coral
Vibrant coral takes the stage as both the traditional gift and preferred colour for this year, while jade, a beautiful gem of love and friendship stands as the modern gift. Emeralds also join in as the gemstone of the thirty-fifth year of matrimony. While emeralds are believed to be heart-openers and conduits of passion, patience and undying love, all gifts for this anniversary convey a deep sense of love and commitment to your partner.
40th Anniversary Gifts – Ruby
The anniversary gift by year for the 40th anniversary features ruby as both the traditional and modern gifts, as well as the gemstone and preferred colour. It’s not strange as rubies represent beauty, protection, wisdom and power. The incendiary looks of the ruby are often associated with passion and an eternal flame of love. For this anniversary, the redder the better.
45th Anniversary Gifts – Sapphire
Both the traditional and modern anniversary gifts by year accept Sapphire as the gift of choice. Sapphires symbolize wisdom, faithfulness, and sincerity. These are virtues that had brought you thus far in your forever journey with your partner. These virtues need to be acknowledged and the vivid blue hue of the sapphire gem is by the far the best way to demonstrate that.
50th Anniversary Gifts – Gold
Congratulations! Here comes the golden year. Some milestones are so remarkable you need to celebrate them with some of the most expensive ornaments in the world. Gold is such an ornament and it reflects the radiance and exquisiteness of your union these past fifty years.
Gold is both the traditional and modern gift by year for the 50th anniversary. Just like in the silver anniversary, the custom of using gold to commemorate 50 years of marriage started when medieval, germanic wives were lavished with gifts of gilded wreaths by their husbands at that time.
Gold is also the colour of the 50th anniversary.
55th Anniversary Gifts – Emerald
At 55, you are not only celebrating your union with your partner. You are also celebrating the gift of long life to you and your partner. Emeralds have been chosen as both the traditional and modern anniversary gifts by year for the 55th year of marriage, and they are historically linked with fertility, love and inspirations of hope. I hope the same hope that has kept you thus far, sustains you to your 60th anniversary and even beyond.
60th Anniversary: Diamond
Sixty years of a successful marriage is something to celebrate. For a relationship to outlast six whole decades and still stand strong, it must be invincible, your love unbreakable, and your resilience second to none. Hence, diamonds are the best gift options to depict the strength of your relationship with your partner.
Apart from being the hardest and most coveted gem, diamonds are also every girl’s best friend, they say. While you might be stricken in age, it is also time to remind your partner that he or she is still the young man or woman you fell in love with.
Diamond is also featured as the gemstone of the year, and diamond-white is the colour of the year. These take into commemoration the powerful forces involved in creating a diamond and how these shape it into being the hardest substance and the most indestructible gem ever.
There is further information following this table which might assist you.
Year of Anniversary
Modern Gift Material/Theme
Traditional Gift Material/Theme
Gold Jewellery (nil specific stone); Substitute: Pearl; Peridot
Garnet Substitute: Rose Quartz
Pearl Substitute: Jade; Moonstone; Crystal
Silk; Linen (UK); Fruit/Flowers (US)
Blue Topaz Substitute: Amethyst; Blue Zircon
Pink; Blue; Turquoise
Sapphire Substitute: Turquoise; Rose Quartz; Pink Tourmaline
Gold (nil specific stone) Substitute: Gold; Imperial Topaz
Alexandrite Substitute: Emerald
Note that, even though ivory is the traditional theme for the 14th anniversary, it is not an ethical choice due to the decline of elephant populations. A gift which features an elephant theme is a better alternative.
Traditional Or Modern Anniversary Gift By Year?
You might be wondering which of the anniversary gift theme guide should you follow. The traditional or the modern?
As a matter of fact, there is no hard and fast rule on which to stick as the choice depends entirely on you. You can choose to alternate them for different years or do both together. While traditional wedding anniversary gifts are usually listed for every year up to the 20th year of marriage, the modern list has anniversary gift themes up to the 30th year and then every five years until 75 years.
These anniversary gifts by year compiled by the traditional and modern list emphasize the need for you to appreciate your partner for sticking by you through the years. And while they may skip some years, what stops you from honouring your partner every year without skipping?
How Do I Choose A Gift From The Lists?
It is important to note that the traditional and modern gifts list is just a guide to the type of gift you should give to your partner. For example, on an anniversary year themed on China, you could get your partner china porcelain, or alternatively, any item from China or an actual visit to the great walls of China.
While the gift may not be exactly the item that it is themed on, it should be an item made of or made from it.
There are thousands of gift ideas you can get from this list. You just have to be creative and imaginative, while still considering your budget. Remember, it is not too much spending if you are doing it for the one you love.
Are There Other Gift Themes
The traditional and modern anniversary gifts guide has also included other things like preferred flowers, colours and gemstones. Gemstones were included by the American Gem Trade Association in its Information Manual published in 1985 which listed all gemstones for each anniversary year up to the 25th and then every fifth year up to 60 years of marriage.
Flowers are also represented as shown in the table above.
Another notable thing is that some of the gifts differ for certain locations. For example, the traditional anniversary gift for the 12th year is silk or linen in the UK, but the home decor in the US.
Anniversary gifts by year are a way of showing your undying love and appreciation to your partner as you go through life together. God keeping you both alive and well, may you have a blissful anniversary each year up to the diamond anniversary and beyond.
I am a seasoned writer, not because I am some genius but thanks to many years of trials, failure, and near successes. I curate the most content on this website; all geared towards making you a better and happier audience.