When you are looking at anniversary presents for either your spouse, or a loved one, have you ever wondered why it is paper, cotton, emerald or ruby? Have you ever seen an anniversary card and wondered why certain anniversaries are daubed with certain gems or in a certain colour?
I know I have!
Well, common knowledge says that the longer your wedding celebrations, the stronger or more valuable the element – and therefore gift – becomes. That is why, as anniversaries pass and your yearly celebrations reach multiple decades, you move from softer materials like paper (1st anniversary) and wood (5th anniversary) through to more solid materials like china (20th anniversary) and finally with precious stones and metals like gold (50th anniversary) and platinum (70th anniversary). If you reach your platinum anniversary, you are doing pretty well! The increased value of the gift is reflective of the love, achievement, and celebration of each passing year.
Legend says that the tradition of relating anniversaries to metals and items stems from the Victorian era (1837-1900). During the Victorian era, the idea of romantic love entered the public consciousness. Practical items were also among some of the most valuable things to exchange. Due to economic, domestic, and political trends of the Victorian era, it was also common wisdom that the wife would put more effort into the marriage than the husband. Hence love marriages in the Victorian era started a trend of rewarding the wife with a practical item on wedding anniversaries – romantic right? The longer the marriage the more precious the item.
However, did you also know there are two sets of lists? The traditional and the modern list of anniversary gifts. This is because in the 1920’s, jewellers realised that with the traditional anniversary gift list, they were missing valuable opportunities. After a certain point the traditional gift list only assigns an item every 5 or 10 years.(I mean, you’d still want to bestow gifts to your loved ones on their 17th wedding anniversary for example, right?)They wanted to make sure each anniversary was included.
Therefore, business savvy people in the jewellery and gift industry started the modern list so that people searching for anniversary gifts for each year would have a gift theme to focus on and a celebration gift to give. Very wise! The modern set of gifts includes recent items such as watches, jewellery and musical items. It also removes items that now days are culturally frowned upon for ethical and environmental reasons, such as ivory. (Please never buy this-seriously not cool!)
The other thing to note is that there are regional differences to what gifts are listed for what year. For example, the UK lists silk and linen for the 4th anniversary traditional anniversary gift whereas the USA lists fruit and flowers. You can see a comparison on Wikipedia. It’s best to do your research when looking for gifts in your country, just to make sure. Though a little creativity may not go amiss – who doesn’t love to receive a gift of flowers regardless of country?!
At the end of the day, the main thing to remember is to take a moment to mark each special occasion and wedding anniversary. As the years pass and a marriage and love grows, celebrating yourselves and your loved one’s valuable milestones is so important.
We hope this information helps you on your anniversary gift search and of course we have made sure that each year has the traditional and modern gift listed to help you celebrate that love.