Wedding Anniversary Symbols

Something New Every Year: Wedding Anniversary Symbols

by: Michael Kabel

A happy and successful marriage is full of traditions. A tradition could be the little moments you share with one another; a tradition might involve a trip to a very special place at a special time, or a remembrance of something the two of you did together.

Celebrating the wedding anniversary has really only become popular in our day and age. As our ideas of marriage have evolved over the centuries, couples have begun commemorating their wedding day with special gifts and tokens of affection.

You're probably already aware that a couple's fiftieth anniversary is known as the "gold anniversary," and that gifts of gold should be exchanged in commemoration. But did you know there’s an entire calendar of wedding anniversary symbols, or that almost every year in a couple's initial years together are considered cause for a special gift?

Silver & Gold  |  Diamond  |  Wood

Specific wedding anniversaries have picked up their own "themes" which reflect the anniversary's stature and importance. Whether you're giving an anniversary gift or planning a celebration for the anniversary of a special couple, we have an assortment of products that keep tradition alive.

The Origin of the Symbols

Wedding anniversary symbols, though probably practiced informally even before, truly began in 1897. In that year, Queen Victoria of England celebrated her sixtieth year on the throne. The event was called the "diamond jubilee," and well-wishers celebrated by giving diamonds as gifts, effectively creating the modern diamond market.

Crystal / Glass (Couple)  |  Cotton (Couple)  |  Pear (For Her)  |  Leather (For Him)

Modern anniversary symbols are skewed more for contemporary standards of wealth. As such, a completely new table has been established which is just as valid as the traditional one.

Giving A Symbolic Gift

If you're planning to give an anniversary gift based on the proper symbol, remember the gifts don't have to be extravagant or expensive, especially in the first few years.

The gifts can also be an accent to something else you have in mind, or a clever way of presenting your main present. (For example, two plane tickets to the Bahamas would be printed on paper, the symbol for the first anniversary!)

If you're looking to save money for other purposes (like buying a house), don't worry too much about getting the ultimately symbolic gift. The intent of these symbols is to give significance to the event and to help couples anticipate the future. That's more important than money, anyway.

The following list of symbols is the table most agreed upon by American jewelers and gift experts. The United Kingdom follows a slightly different schedule.


Years 1 - 10 Years 11 - 20 Later Years
Traditional Modern Traditional Modern Traditional Modern
1st Paper Clocks 11th Steel Fashion Jewelry 25th Silver Silver
2nd Cotton China 12th Silk/Linen Pearls 30th Pearl Diamond
3rd Leather Crystal / Glass 13th Lace Textile Furs 35th Coral Jade
4th Fruit / Flowers Appliances 14th Animals* Gold Jewelry 40th Ruby Ruby
5th Wood Silverware 15th Crystal Watches 45th Sapphire Sapphire
6th Candy / Iron Wood 20th China Platinum 50th Gold Gold
7th Wool / Copper Desk Sets 60th Diamond Diamond
8th Pottery / Bronze Linens / Lace
9th Willow / Pottery Leather
10th Tin / Aluminum Diamond Jewelry