Many people love to give and receive a gift commemorating their time together. And, we love that many people commemorate being together with the gift of jewelry! But anniversary gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more traditional. Others are more modern. When did this practice begin? The idea of marking a wedding anniversary some say traces back to Ancient Rome, or Medieval Germany. Of course, there is really no sure way of knowing. However, by the 18th century, the evidence seems to point to its wider use in Germany. For example, friends of the married couple might give the wife a wreath made out of silver to commemorate 25 years of wedded bliss. Should they reach 50 years, that wreath would actually be gold! Among English-speaking regions, that tradition started showing up in the 1800’s. During that time frame the idea of marriage was growing in leaps and bounds, but there were strict gender roles. And it was believed that wives should be celebrated (far more than men) because at the time it was believed that it was the wife who deserved more recognition since it took more work on the wife’s part.
It wasn’t until the 20th century that a yearly list was invented, and even then it’s been subject to change. According to an article published in TIME Magazine, July 6, 2017, by 1910, The Standard Home Reference Library provided a longer list of suggestions with yearly gifts for the first five years (paper, straw, candy, leather, wood) as well as presents for years seven (floral), ten (tin), 12 (linen), 15 (crystal) and 20 (china). Gifts of pearl, coral, emerald and ruby filled in the roster for years 30 to 45. The diamond anniversary was acceptable either at 60 or 75 years. Emily Post’s 1922 bestselling etiquette book, provides eight specific occasions and explains how they ought to be marked, noting that in the U.S. it was “not very good form” to have a big anniversary party, feeling it was simply a celebration asking for gifts! She made the exception for “major anniversaries” like number 50 considering that to be a “sacred event”.
That very same year, the American National Retail Jewelers Association discussed supplementing the more common gifts with jewelry. Over the next decade, they worked to create a comprehensive list for jewelers to use all over the U.S. Not to appear self-serving, it wasn’t all about jewelry, but there was a large emphasis on precious metals and gemstones. Then, it was up to the marketing and here we are today.
Suffice to say, things have dramatically changed. And, all of it for the better. Love between two people has no boundaries or sees no gender. But what has remained is a desire to show a loved one how much you appreciate and care for them. That can be celebrated in any number of ways. And not always we might add, with a physical gift. Sometimes, just saying “I love and appreciate you” is all that matters.
Shop By Year
We’ve got some ideas that are traditionally given for each year. Rest assured any gift of jewelry is the perfect gift!
Jewelry: Onyx or Yellow Sapphire
Traditional: Wool or Copper
Modern: Desk Sets