The giving of wedding anniversary gifts dates back many centuries. Over time, ideas of what is deemed symbolic and appropriate to celebrate with have changed. The Traditional list is the accepted list set forth by Emily Post, with the Modern list reflecting a more contemporary sensibility. The Anniversary Stones list evolved later as anniversary gifts gained popularity. Like the Stones list, the Flowers list came into existence after the Traditional list, and was probably originally created by florists.
It can be very fun and challenging to come up with meaningful anniversary gifts that draw on more than one of these lists. For centuries, jewelry has been the most romantic way to express love to your partner. Because antique jewelry is so unique and personal, it shows that care and thought was put into its selection. Try mixing things up, using one list to inspire another. Put a pretty gold ring in a handmade origami box for a first anniversary, or try a wooden daisy brooch for your fifth anniversary.
ANNIVERSARY GIFTS BY YEAR
Traditional: Paper: symbolizes the strength gathered from interwoven threads
Modern: Clocks: reflecting the eternity of love
Stones: Gold Jewelry
Flowers: Pansy, Orange Blossoms: love and attraction, purity and fruitfulness
Gift Ideas: There are many wonderful ideas for a first anniversary! A small locket containing your wedding picture, a gold Art Deco wedding band engraved with orange blossoms, a desk clock or an elegant watch can all be beautifully wrapped in origami boxes, Italian gift wrap or even a bouquet of pansies.
Traditional: Cotton: like any good relationship - both durable and versatile
Modern: China: as elegant and beautiful as love
Flowers: Cosmo: modesty
Gift Ideas: Try wrapping pretty Bohemian garnet earrings in an antique handkerchief or tying a Satsuma brooch to a single Cosmo.
Traditional: Leather: as warm, strong and flexible as a good marriage
Modern: Crystal: as dazzling as a strong marriage
Flowers: Fuchsia: humble love
Gift Ideas: Pretty Art Deco rock crystal earrings wrapped in handmade paper, an Art Nouveau gold and seed pearl fuchsia pendant in a soft leather box or a 1940s watch with a warm leather strap.
Traditional: Fruit or flowers: representing a blossoming partnership
Modern: Appliances: we think jewelry is a better idea!
Stones: Blue Topaz
Flowers: Geranium: true friendship, piety
Gift Ideas: What an open-ended anniversary! Try a Georgian posy ring, an Art Moderne topaz cocktail ring or a pair of retro geranium earrings. Want something a little less floral? Try a pair of Victorian rose gold cufflinks or a retro rose gold bracelet.
Traditional: Wood: symbolizing the strength and longevity of your marriage
Modern: Silverware: a reminder of shared meals
Flowers: Daisy: innocence and loyal love
Gift Ideas: For her: An Art Deco sapphire ring with complimentary silver ring holder or an early Victorian enameled daisy brooch in an antique wooden jewelry box. For him: A Victorian sapphire tie clip or an Edwardian watch chain in a small rosewood box.
Traditional: Sweets, Iron
Flowers: Calla Lily: magnificent beauty and pure love
Gift Ideas: Try hiding a Berlin iron necklace, an Arts & Crafts calla lily brooch or a pair of Victorian amethyst cufflinks in a small wooden box or a bowl of your sweetie’s favorite candy.
Traditional: Wool, Copper: warmth and security, prosperity and good fortune
Modern: Desk Sets
Flowers: Freesia: trust
Gift Ideas: Hide an onyx ring or watch fob in a new pair of socks, pin an Art Nouveau gold freesia brooch to a pashmina shawl or wrap a silver picture frame and letter opener in copper tissue.
Modern: Linens, Lace
Flowers: Clematis: mental beauty
Gift Ideas: Try wrapping a lacy Edwardian pendant in a an antique handkerchief, hiding an Art Moderne cematis brooch in a small bronze box or pinning a Victorian tourmaline stickpin in his favorite tie.
Stones: Lapis lazuli
Flowers: Poppy: pleasure, success
Gift Ideas: Surprise him with a Victorian lapis signet ring or antique leather card case. Treat her to an Art Nouveau silver poppy brooch or a Wedgwood necklace.
Traditional: Tin, Aluminum: symbolizes that the marriage is both flexible and durable
Modern: Diamond Jewelry: both durable and beautiful
Flowers: Daffodil: unequaled love
Gift Ideas: Need I suggest diamond jewelry? Try an Art Deco diamond ring for her right hand, Edwardian diamond earrings or a Victorian diamond bracelet. There are just as many options for him: Edwardian diamond cufflinks, a Victorian diamond-set pocket-watch or an Art Deco diamond men’s ring. Snuggle your diamonds in a punched-tin box, bunch of daffodils or get creative with aluminum foil.
Flowers: Lilac: humility and love
Gift Ideas: Give your loved one a pair of Georgian cut-steel earrings, an early Victorian lilac locket or late Victorian Persian turquoise cufflinks.
Traditional: Silk, Linen
Flowers: Lily: majesty, purity, sweetness
Gift Ideas: Try pinning an Art Deco jade tie pin to a silk tie or wrapping an Edwardian pearl bracelet around a bouquet of lilies.
Modern: Textiles, Fur
Flowers: Hydrangea: fertility of love
Gift Ideas: Wrap a Victorian lace agate brooch in a velvet pouch or hide a pair of retro citrine cufflinks or an Arts & Crafts citrine ring in a silk hydrangea.
Modern: Gold jewelry
Flowers: Orchid: rare beauty and love
Gift Ideas: Give your sweetie an Art Deco ivory necklace, Edwardian opal ring or Victorian gold cigar-cutter nestled at the base of an orchid plant.
Flowers: Rose: love, beauty, passion and perfection
Gift Ideas: Try an Edwardian ruby or Art Deco crystal opal ring, a retro rose gold Bulova watch hidden in a box of rose petals.
Modern: Silver Holloware
Gift Ideas: Hide an Art Deco peridot ring or cufflinks in a Victorian silver repoussé pillbox.
Gift Ideas: Sneak a pair of Art Deco sapphire and diamond earrings in the drawer of your bedside table, wrap an Edwardian diamond watch in wood-grain paper or tie a Victorian pocket-watch to the bedpost.
Stones: Cat’s-Eye Chrysoberyl
Gift Ideas: Snuggle a chrysoberyl money-clip in a porcelain box or present a French Limoges enamel ring around the neck of a plush kitten.
Gift Ideas: Give your honey a Victorian silver pencil, Edwardian aquamarine ring or a pretty gem-set chain wrapped in an artisan bronze bowl.
Traditional: China: symbolizes the beautiful and elegant love you have cultivated
Modern: Platinum: strong and enduring
Flowers: Day Lily: Flirtation
Gift Ideas: Surprise your sweetie with breakfast in bed…with an Art Deco emerald ring, a pair of Edwardian platinum cufflinks or an Art Nouveau silver lily brooch hiding in the teacup.
Traditional: Silver: radiance
Stones: Sterling Silver
Flowers: Iris: promise, hope, faith
Gift Ideas: The possibilities are endless! How about an Aesthetic Movement silver iris box or mid-century Scandinavian sterling silver cufflinks? Or why not try a Victorian silver picture frame with your wedding photo in it? Of course, a Georgian silver and diamond ring is never a bad choice either…
Flowers: Sweet Pea: delicate pleasures
Gift Ideas: Surprise your wife with an Edwardian pearl and diamond cross-over ring, a pair of Victorian pearl earrings or an Art Deco pearl and diamond ring. Show your husband how much you love him with an inlaid mother-of-pearl box, an Edwardian mother-of-pearl and diamond dress set or a pearl-handled letter opener.
Flowers: Amaryllis: splendid beauty
Gift Ideas: Entwine a Victorian coral necklace, Art Deco jade earrings or an emerald stickpin in a bunch of amaryllis.
Traditional: Ruby: the inner flame and passion of a life-long love
Flowers: Peony: happy marriage
Gift Ideas: Rubies, rubies and more rubies! Try an Edwardian ruby and diamond ring, Victorian ruby earrings, an Art Deco ruby eternity band or a ruby-studded pocket-watch.
Flowers: Red Rose: passionate love
Gift Ideas: Give your wife an Art Deco pink sapphire and diamond ring, Edwardian cabochon sapphire ring or Victorian white sapphire earrings. Surprise your husband with Victorian sapphire and gold cufflinks or an Art Deco sapphire-movement watch.
Traditional: Gold: beautiful, strong, resistant to corrosion
Flowers: Violet: faithfulness and purity
Gift Ideas: Hide an Art Deco violet sapphire ring, Victorian gold band or retro gold keychain in your sweetie’s pocket.
Flowers: Jasmine: attachment, grace, elegance
Gift Ideas: Surprise your honey with an Edwardian alexandrite ring, an Art Deco emerald eternity band or a Victorian locket engraved with jasmine.
Traditional: Yellow Diamond
Flowers: White Rose: I am worthy of you, heavenly love
Gift Ideas: An Art Deco canary yellow diamond tie pin or ring, diamond eternity band or Edwardian diamond drop earrings tucked into the center of a single white rose.
Traditional: Blue Sapphire
Modern: Star Sapphire
Stones: Star Sapphire
Gift Ideas: Wrap an Art Deco diamond and sapphire ring, retro star sapphire ring or Edwardian star sapphire dress set in a silk pouch or brocade box.
Gift Ideas: Present your sweetie with an Edwardian platinum and diamond ring, Art Deco diamond earrings or a retro platinum signet ring during a candlelit dinner.
Gift Ideas: Surprise your husband or wife with a Victorian diamond necklace, Art Deco diamond ring or Edwardian platinum and diamond pocket-watch in front of your family friends.