Anniversary Gifts and Traditions

Man kissing his wife on their anniversary.

If you and your partner are closing in on an anniversary, you may be curious where this tradition came from — and you’re probably wondering what you should get them as a gift. Read on to find out more about this sentimental celebration and see our favorite picks for anniversary gift ideas.

What is an anniversary?

An anniversary is a celebration of a particular date. Usually, within a relationship, couples will celebrate the day of their first date, their wedding, or the day they “officially” became a couple. It’s usually celebrated by exchanging gifts and/or marking the day by going out to eat, going on a trip, throwing a party or another form of recognition. A relationship should be fun, but it’s also a lot of work — anniversaries offer the opportunity to celebrate the life you’ve built together.

Why we give anniversary gifts

The tradition of giving specific types of anniversary gifts by year is believed to date back to central Europe during medieval times. Wives would receive silver wreaths from their husbands for their 25th wedding anniversary, with silver symbolizing harmony between the husband and wife. For a 50th anniversary, wives would receive a wreath of gold. It’s believed that these traditions were practiced mainly by the wealthy, because of the expense of the precious materials used. Today, we still sometimes refer to the 25th and 50th years as the “silver” and “gold” anniversaries.

Where did anniversary gift lists come from?

Wife wearing an anniversary ring, face-to-face with her husband.

Throughout the Victorian era of the 1800s, more anniversary gifts by year were designated, with wood becoming the traditional gift associated with the fifth year of marriage, and diamond being related to the 75th. After Queen Victoria called her 60th year on the throne the “Diamond Jubilee,” the 60th wedding anniversary was also associated with diamonds. The Victorians were extremely fond of categorizing and classifying, so the idea of a list of gifts for each anniversary year quickly became popular.

If you’re confused about which gift matches up to which year, it may come as no surprise — there are a number of well-known anniversary gift lists that have gained traction over time. Emily Post listed eight traditional anniversaries in a 1922 publication, the “Blue Book of Social Usage,” while the American National Retail Jeweler Association also issued a comprehensive list in 1937. Here, the gifts increased in value over time, representing an ever-strengthening relationship. Currently, there are lists associated with flowers, colors, metals, jewelry and more for each anniversary milestone. This offers many options for anniversary gift ideas, but can sometimes be overwhelming if you’re struggling to find the perfect gift.

Anniversary gifts by year

The traditional list of anniversary gifts reads as such:

1st: Paper

5th: Wood

10th: Tin

15th: Crystal

20th: China

25th: Silver

30th: Pearl

35th: Jade

40th: Ruby

45th: Sapphire

50th: Gold

55th: Emerald

60th: Diamond

70th: Platinum

75th: Diamond and gold

Of course, there’s no rule that says you must stick to this list — it’s much more important that you get your significant other something they’ll really enjoy! The traditional list of gifts is a guideline that offers some inspiration if you’re stuck trying to come up with the perfect anniversary gift.

What about anniversary rings?

Selection of diamond and sapphire anniversary rings.

The tradition of giving an anniversary ring to mark milestone wedding anniversaries has grown in popularity in recent years. But what exactly is an anniversary ring, and how does one wear it with their existing bands?

An anniversary ring is a band given to celebrate your years as a married couple. It usually mimics the look of a wedding band or engagement ring, while probably not being quite as extravagant as your original pieces. While there’s no “right way” to wear an anniversary ring, there are a few popular ways that these gifts are styled.

Switch it out

One choice is to replace your wedding ring with an anniversary band, or otherwise switch them off depending on the day. If you have a particularly plain band, it may be fun to switch it out for something with a little more sparkle or a vintage-inspired feel.

Stackable styles

Another option is to wear it along with your engagement ring and wedding band. You can create the look of “stackable” rings by getting something that matches nicely with your current rings, or, if you choose to only wear your engagement ring on special occasions, you can pick out an anniversary ring to match your traditional band for everyday wear.

A whole new look

You can also choose to wear the anniversary ring on another hand entirely — this allows it to shine on its own and means you don’t have to worry about it clashing with your current style. Unlike a wedding or engagement ring, there’s no “traditional” hand or finger you may feel pressured to wear it on.

Anniversary gift ideas

Looking for the perfect anniversary gift? Whether she’s more modern or favors classic style, Shane Co. has high-quality jewelry gifts for every personality and budget. Take a look at some of our favorites below.

Anniversary bands

This Vintage Diamond Wedding Band in 14k Rose Gold is perfect for stacking with other rings or as a unique stand-alone piece. With intricate milgrain detailing and an option for engraving, she’ll love saying “I still do” to this beautiful band.

Make a statement with this Pave-Set Baguette and Round Diamond Wedding Band. With 34 brilliant round diamonds and 17 baguette diamonds hand-matched for sparkle and beauty, this white gold band is the perfect way to show her how much you appreciate the time you’ve spent together.

A Classic Three-Stone Diamond Ring in 14k White Gold is a stunning addition to her engagement ring or a standout right-hand ring. Our diamonds are directly sourced and hand-picked for superior sparkle, making the ultimate trio with this striking piece.

Embrace your forever with this Infinity Diamond Wedding Band in 14k Yellow Gold. Our high-quality yellow gold takes on a classic look paired with a unique infinity twist design in this sweet and sparkly anniversary ring.

Ruby circle pendant, sapphire and diamond drop pendant, and diamond pear-shaped pendant.

Diamond gifts

For an extra-special anniversary, you can’t go wrong with this Diamond-Lined Tennis Bracelet in 14k White Gold. A tennis bracelet is the perfect piece for everyday wear or special occasions, offering elegant and timeless style.

If your sweetheart is looking for a sophisticated addition to her wardrobe, this Diamond Dangle Necklace in 14k White Gold is it. Two round bezel-set diamonds add chic style to the unique Y-shaped chain, complete with an adjustable clasp.

With hand-matched diamonds, our stud earrings are always a fantastic choice for anniversary gifts. We offer a wide range of sizes for every budget. For a more modern look, this Diamond Circle Necklace in 14k Rose Gold offers a unique silhouette, complete with nine brilliant round diamonds highlighting a circle necklace in our signature shade of rose gold.

Sapphire gifts

These Sapphire and Diamond Dangle Earrings are perfect for a night out, with two oval and two pear-shaped traditional blue sapphires, as well as 62 round diamonds surrounding the stone.

This Kentucky Blue and White Sapphire Pendant is a simple and elegant look that will fit any woman’s style. Made with high-quality 14k white gold, this vintage-inspired pendant features two Kentucky blue sapphires and one white sapphire for that extra sparkle.

If you’re looking for glamour, this Traditional Blue Sapphire and Diamond Three-Stone Ring makes a beautiful anniversary gift. The classic style complements the unique look of the blue sapphire center stone for a one-of-a-kind piece.

For a feminine touch, give her these Pink Sapphire and Diamond Earrings in 14k White Gold crafted with two oval pink sapphires surrounded by 24 round diamonds, offering just the right amount of sparkle.

Ruby gifts

This Vintage Ruby and Diamond Pendant gives classic style with intricate details that make it even more meaningful. One red ruby comes together with 17 round diamonds to create a striking necklace made with 14k yellow gold.

Five pear-shaped rubies sparkle beautifully in this Ruby and Diamond Vintage Bracelet. Secured by a lobster clasp and set in 14k white gold, she’ll want to wear this stunner every day.

Does your honey like hoops? Then she’ll fall in love with these Round Ruby Hoop Earrings in 14k Yellow Gold. With a generous amount of color and sparkle, this pair is perfect for your next anniversary gift.

For a romantic look, try gifting her this Ruby and Diamond Ring in 14k Rose Gold. Seven round rubies and 36 hand-picked diamonds create a refined and timeless design.

Why shop Shane Co.?

To see more anniversary gifts, visit the Shane Co. website here. With hundreds of exclusive styles made just for you, you’re sure to find the right anniversary gift for your special someone. If you shop online, you’ll receive free 2-day shipping on all U.S. orders, as well as our 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee. We also offer a Free Lifetime Warranty that includes the center stone of your ring — for free, for life. With noncommission sales associates and the largest selection of high-quality jewelry, Shane Co. is the best place to stop for anniversaries to come.

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