No one knows precisely when wedding anniversaries were first celebrated. But the tradition is believed to go back at least to the Middle Ages. At that time in the Germanic regions of Europe, a husband crowned his wife with a silver wreath on the 25th anniversary of their wedding day. If the couple was fortunate living long enough the husband presented his wife a gold wreath on their 50th wedding anniversary.
By the beginning of the 20th century, an additional 6 anniversaries were celebrated - the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, and 75th year for a total of 8.
In 1922 Emily Post published Etiquette in which she identified symbolic gifts associated with each of these 8 milestone anniversaries: paper, wood, tin, crystal, china, silver, gold, and diamond.
15 years later, the Jewelers of America expanded her list to include materials for every one of the first 20 years of marriage and every 5 years thereafter. This was the birth of the traditional list of gifts and wedding anniversary meanings we have today.
The very 1st anniversary is celebrated with gold jewelry. For those who are not so keen on yellow gold, there are other alloys to choose from, such as white gold and rose gold.
Garnets are the January birthstone and the 2nd year anniversary stone. There is a wide choice of garnet gemstones in almost every color of the rainbow, from affordable almandine and pyrope to rare green tsavorite garnet and orange spessartite garnet.
The 3rd year of marriage is traditionally celebrated with pearls, the classic gemstone that most ladies have in their jewelry box. Pearls may be drilled, half-drilled or undrilled and come in various colors to suit every complexion.
Blue topaz is an all-time popular blue gemstone that is given for the 4th anniversary. Pastel sky blue, bright Swiss blue and deep London blue topazes are the three colors available.
The 5th anniversary deserves something special and sapphire is the stone to mark this milestone. As well as classic blue sapphire, there are many other colors to choose from, including purple, green, yellow, orange, white and more.
6 years of marriage are celebrated with amethyst, the prized purple gemstone that is also a February birthstone. This regal color looks wonderful in jewelry with yellow gold settings.
The black and white banded agate known as onyx is the 7th year anniversary stone. Loved by men and women for its neutral two-tone appearance, onyx gemstones may also be purely white or black and are extremely versatile.
For the 8th year of marriage, the color choice is entirely yours with tourmaline, which is available in almost every color of the rainbow. Also an October birthstone, some tourmaline gemstones are even bicolor or multicolor.
The classic blue stone, lapis lazuli has been prized since ancient times and is used to mark the 9th year of marriage. This dreamy blue stone is often carved or cut as cabochons.
The 10th year of marriage calls for diamond jewelry, the hardest gemstone on earth that is associated with lasting love. Whether you prefer dazzling white diamonds, champagne diamond, cognac diamonds or a fancy blue diamond, your 10th anniversary gift will be stunning.
Beautiful, classic blue-green turquoise, named after its route through Turkey celebrates 11 years of marriage. Whether it is robin's egg blue or patterned with matrix, turquoise jewelry is loved by all.
Jade is given for the 12th anniversary and may be green, lavender, white or another color, it is one of the most durable and versatile gemstones, which is often carved or cut en cabochon.
Sunny citrine celebrates 13 years of marriage. Citrine is the yellow to orange member of the quartz family that can be made into almost any kind of jewelry, big and bold or dainty.
Colorful opal is given for the 14th anniversary and there are many varieties to choose from depending on the jewelry in mind, such as Mexican fire opal, boulder opal, chocolate opal, black opal and the classic precious opal with rainbow color play.
The stone that represents 15 years of marriage is ruby, a stone of passion and desire. The quintessential red gemstone, ruby will never disappoint those who are lucky enough to own it.
Peridot is the gemstone presented for the 16th anniversary, an olive color to bright green, it has been called "evening emerald" because of the enchanting way it glows at night.
A timepiece celebrates 17 years of marriage, whether it is a luxury gemstone watch or a simple, elegant affair, it will serve as a reminder of precious time spent together.
The classic cat's eye gemstone celebrates the 18th anniversary. These stones are generally cut en cabochon to show off the light reflected as a slit that appears like the eye of a cat. Cat's eye gems are great for eye-catching rings.
Metaphysical meanings of Aquamarine has water element. The water always flows following its surrounding, so it is often associated with good communication and positive response that follows and becomes a key in good relationship. That is why the stone is often given as the 19th marriage anniversary gift.
The 20th anniversary is celebrated with the classic green gemstone, emerald, which has been treasured for thousands of years. Also the May birthstone, emeralds are thought to be a stone that enhances well-being.
Iolite is a violet-blue gemstone that represents 21 years of marriage. Just as marriage has many moods, so does iolite, which can appear blue-violet, golden yellow or colorless depending on the viewing angle.
Brilliant spinel is given for the 22nd wedding anniversary, a scintillatingly beautiful gemstone that can appear like fine ruby when red or like sapphire when blue. Spinel may also be black, purple, pink and other colors.
Golden to red imperial topaz is the gemstone of the 23rd year of marriage. Often a peachy color like the color of the setting sun, imperial topaz, also known as precious topaz, is the rarest and most valuable topaz.
The rare, blue to violet gemstone known as tanzanite is the 24th anniversary stone that is only found in Tanzania. The color of tanzanite intensifies in large gemstones, which catch the eye from across the room.
Beautiful, bright, white silver jewelry celebrates 25 years of marriage. Sterling silver contains 92.5% pure silver and is a strong and durable alloy that is perfect for lasting jewelry.
Pearl jewelry is given for the 30 year pearl jubilee, marking three decades of marriage. Whether a string of pearls, a single pearl pendant or matching pearl earrings, pearls are an anniversary gift to be treasured.
When anniversary stones are repeated, a matching jewelry set can be given, and the 35 year anniversary is a time when the opportunity to expand on the 20th anniversary gift can be taken to create a special emerald suite.
Ruby, the stone of passionate devotion represents 40 years of devoted marriage. Those who reach this celebration deserve to treat themselves to something extra special, perhaps incorporating the 15th anniversary ruby, and red never goes out of fashion.
45 years shared together in marriage calls for sapphire jewelry. For him, a star sapphire would make a stunning ring, and for her, tender pink, classic blue, fancy yellow or another color can create an elegant piece of jewelry.
The 50th year golden jubilee is a very special celebration which is celebrated with gold gemstone jewelry, representing 50 golden years treasured together.
The gem named after a Russian Tsar, alexandrite is a form of color change chrysoberyl which is given for the 55th wedding anniversary. This phenomenal gemstone can change color under different lighting, befitting a phenomenal 55 years of marriage.
After 60 years of marriage, diamond jewelry is in order to mark this incredible anniversary of a shared life. Whether you add to the 10th anniversary gift or design something new, it will be loved just the same.
The traditional 65th anniversary gift is blue sapphire, an elegant and classic jewelry gemstone that is perfect for both men and women alike. Whether pastel blue, medium blue, cornflower blue or darker, blue sapphire jewelry is always admired.
Couples who celebrate 70 years of marriage have a special partnership that is represented by platinum, a rare and treasured metal that is prized for its lustrous sheen and durability. Like a solid marriage, platinum may be scratched, but will never wear down, remaining strong forever.
Ruby, the red form of corundum which stands for good health, prosperity, wisdom and a successful love life, represents the 80th anniversary and a lifetime of devotion. Called the "king of precious stones", what could be more fitting for such a celebration?