Wedding anniversary gemstones have traditionally been used to mark and celebrate key milestones during a marriage to symbolise commitment and longevity. The custom of presenting these gifts originated in Germany during Medieval times when a husband would traditionally present his wife with a silver wreath on their 25thanniversary, silver symbolising harmony and serenity which was presumably necessary to make the 25 years of matrimony last. Similarly, a gold wreath was gifted after their 50th year together and hence these two matrimonial milestones became the two key markers in the wedding calendar.
During the Victorian era these anniversaries were expanded from ancient customs, emphasising the Victorian obsession with classification which has led to the list of anniversaries that we celebrate today.
In America every year seems to be celebrated with a particular gemstone which has led to many key gems such as emerald, ruby and diamond having several repeats. In my mind this diminishes their uniqueness. Of course, any anniversary can be celebrated with any piece of jewellery or gemstone of choice, but just in case you would like to know the main traditional English markers they are as follows:
10th Anniversary Tin
Tin is traditionally used for storing and preserving and although a little uninspiring at first can lead to an interesting gift.
15th Anniversary Crystal
Crystal is symbol of clarity and transparency and can be celebrated with rock crystal or druizy quartz set in a piece of jewellery.
25th Anniversary Silver
As mentioned above this is for harmony and calmness and leaves the door pretty wide open for any item of jewellery!
Pearls are a symbol of purity and love and can be celebrated choosing from a myriad of different pearl colours and shapes.
35th Anniversary Coral
Coral often thought to have medieval and medicinal qualities and to protect the wearer from harm. Although a popular anniversary stone it must be responsibly sourced.
40th Anniversary Ruby
Ruby is a prime symbol of love and devotion and is considered to be amongst the most rare and precious of gemstones, with large rubies fetching a very high price.
45th Anniversary Sapphire
Sapphire is probably one of the most versatile of anniversary stones as it comes in so many beautiful shades and colours from blue and purple to pink, yellow, orange and green. Used by royalty throughout history to protect against treachery, this stone is said to signify truth, sincerity and faithfulness.
50th Anniversary Gold
Gold is a precious and beautiful material, resistant to corrosion and long-lasting. It also represents wisdom, prosperity and strength and is therefore a fitting tribute for a marriage that has lasted half a century.
55th Anniversary Emerald
Emerald is a rare and beautiful stone, nearly always found with inclusions, the stones range from dark green to a beautiful light green hue. It scratches quite easily but can be repolished without too much trouble. The ancients associated it with Venus, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, so an apt gemstone for the 55thanniversary.
60th Anniversary Diamond
‘Diamonds are forever’ is not only a great song sung by Shirley Bassey but reinforces the longevity and commitment that comes with 60 years of marriage. Known as the hardest mineral in existence, its durability and beauty are most suited to this anniversary.
65th Anniversary Sapphire
This anniversary is traditionally celebrated with Sapphire, again reinforcing the association of truth and faithfulness.
70th Anniversary Platinum
Platinum is a symbol of truth, love, purity and strength and is therefore used throughout marriage for wedding, engagement and eternity rings. It is a beautiful white metal that stands the test of time and is a wonderful alternative for those who prefer the colour of silver but want to use a more precious metal.
And for those of you who were child brides
75 Years is diamond again, well you’ve earnt it !!