Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year

Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year

Traditional vs. Modern Gift Lists

Stressing about what to get your partner for your wedding anniversary? Fret less with these widely recognised traditional and contemporary lists of gift ideas for milestone anniversaries designed to help you find a unique and meaningful momento; whether it’s for your partner, parents or special friends’ significant marriage milestone.

First, let’s look at the origin, meaning and evolution of the traditional wedding anniversary gift list, then its modern-day interpretation.

What are the origins of traditional wedding anniversary gifts?

The concept of traditional anniversary presents is thought to have originated in medieval Germany, when couples received a wreath made of silver on their 25th wedding anniversary, and one made from gold for their 50th anniversary.

Fast forward to The Roaring ‘20s and American author and etiquette expert, Emily Post, published a list of suggested anniversary gifts in her book, called "Etiquette." This list was based on the traditional anniversary gifts by year that have been established over time and are now widely adopted by Western countries, including Australia.

What are the traditional wedding anniversary gifts and what do they mean?

1st Wedding Anniversary Gift: Paper

The threads within paper are believed to represent the strength and connectivity of marriage. Paper’s blank slate can also be a metaphor for two people to write their new future together.

2nd Wedding Anniversary Gift: Cotton

Strong and durable, yet soft and flexible, cotton embodies essential qualities for a happy marriage. In bygone times, brides were given yards of cotton on their second wedding anniversary to make clothes for their growing families.

3rd Wedding Anniversary Gift: Leather

Leather symbolises durability, flexibility and warmth; essential ingredients for a happy marriage.

4th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Fruit or Flowers

Fruit and flowers symbolise the growth, beauty and sweetness of the union as the couple enters their fourth year of marriage.

5th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Wood

Wood symbolises strength and durability; necessary qualities for a long-lasting marriage.

6th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Iron or Candy/Sugar

Iron represents strength, durability and resilience, while candy symbolises the sweetness of love, reminding couples to enjoy life's simple pleasures together.

7th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Wool or Copper

Wool symbolises the warmth and comfort of long-lasting marriage, while copper represents the durability and beauty of the exclusive union.

8th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Bronze

Bronze is admired for its durability, strength and ability to withstand the test of time. It symbolises working together in marriage, like the combined elements of copper and tin mixed together to make bronze.

9th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Pottery or Willow

Moulded and shaped by the maker, pottery signifies the importance of being flexible and adaptable in marriage. Like strong, yet flexible willow tree wood, marriage requires both partners to be adaptable, compromising and forgiving.

10th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Tin or Aluminium

Tin is both strong and flexible, representing the malleability of love and marriage. Aluminium is a lightweight metal, but known for its strength and versatility.

11th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Steel

Steel is a strong and durable metal that can withstand considerable wear and tear without breaking; a positive omen for a resilient marriage. Also used in construction, steel represents building a solid foundation for a marriage to weather the unforeseen challenges life may bring.

12th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Silk

Silk represents sophistication, sensuality and the richness of a relationship that has matured over time. It reminds couples to work on keeping the romance and passion alive.

13th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Lace

Lace is a delicate and intricate fabric made by weaving together many threads that represent the interconnectedness of a long-lasting marriage.

14th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Ivory

No longer an acceptable gift due to the protection of elephants and other tusked animals, couples are encouraged to give the modern 14th wedding anniversary present: gold. For a durable gold alloy with a rich metal colour, we recommend 18kt white gold, yellow gold or rose gold jewellery




15th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Crystal

Crystal symbolises the transparency and clarity of a strong and healthy marriage. It reminds couples how bright their love can shine, even on the darkest of days.

20th Wedding Anniversary Gift: China

China represents the fragile yet enduring nature of a marriage that has lasted two decades. Fine china dishes, delicate teapots and decorative vases are all practical, popular gift ideas for a 20th anniversary.

25th Wedding Anniversary: Silver

Silver is a precious metal symbolic of strength, beauty and radiance. It is thought by some to have mystical qualities that promote healing, protection and good fortune.

30th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Pearl

Pearls are formed gradually over time, layer by layer in a protective shell that creates a strong, yet elegant gem; a moving metaphor for a long and fulfilling marriage.

35th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Coral or Jade

Coral and jade are natural gemstones revered for their strength, longevity and good fortune; apt gifts for such a significant milestone anniversary.

40th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Ruby

Ruby gemstones are famous for their rich red colour and association with love, passion and loyalty, making ruby jewellery a fitting present for a 40-year wedding anniversary.


45th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Sapphire

Sapphire gemstones’ deep blue hue is symbolic of the deep and unconditional love required to reach a 45th wedding anniversary. The SH collection of sapphire rings is designed in-house from the ground up, ensuring design exclusivity and quality befitting of such a momentous occasion.


50th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Gold

Referred to as the “Golden Anniversary”, a couple’s 50th wedding anniversary is aptly marked by the gift of gold, often in the form of traditional yellow gold jewellery.


 55th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Emerald

Emerald gemstones embody the strength, beauty and resilience of a marriage that’s lasted over half a century. One of the four precious gemstones, Emerald’s deep green colour is associated with growth, renewal and prosperity.

60th Wedding Anniversary Gift: Yellow Diamond

Symbolic of love, purity and eternity, yellow diamonds are the ultimate gift for a 60th wedding anniversary. A diamond’s sparkle represents the joy and love that comes with a long and rewarding marriage.



What are the modern wedding anniversary gifts by year?

Established in 1937 by the American National Retail Jeweler Association (now Jewelers of America), the modern wedding anniversary gifts list features a modified version of the traditional anniversary gift list to reflect evolving changes in society and culture.

1st Anniversary Gift: Clocks
2nd Anniversary Gift: China
3rd Anniversary Gift: Crystal or Glass
4th Anniversary Gift: Electric Appliances
5th Anniversary Gift: Silverware
6th Anniversary Gift: Wooden Objects
7th Anniversary Gift: Desk Sets or Pen & Pencil Sets
8th Anniversary Gift: Linens or Lace
9th Anniversary Gift: Leather Goods
10th Anniversary Gift: Diamond Jewellery

11th Anniversary Gift: Fashion Jewellery
12th Anniversary Gift: Pearls or Coloured Gems

13th Anniversary Gift: Textiles or Furs
14th Anniversary Gift: Gold Jewellery

15th Anniversary Gift: Watches

SH Jewellery now stocks a curated selection of authentic Rolex watches for men and women, ideal for 15th wedding anniversaries.

20th Anniversary Gift: Platinum
25th Anniversary Gift: Silver
30th Anniversary Gift: Diamond Jewellery

35th Anniversary: Jade
40th Anniversary: Ruby


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45th Anniversary: Sapphire


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50th Anniversary: Gold

55th Anniversary: Emerald

60th Anniversary: White or Yellow Diamonds

Symbolic of love, purity and eternity, diamonds are the ultimate gift for a 60th wedding anniversary. A diamond’s sparkle represents the joy and love that comes with a long and rewarding marriage. In Australia, white diamonds are traditionally gifted for the 60th anniversary, however yellow diamonds are a popular choice for couples in the US.

Ask the Experts

If you need help finding unique wedding anniversary gifts for your husband, wife, parents or friends, get in touch with our non-commissioned Melbourne Diamond & Jewellery Experts, or shop online with free, insured delivery and 30-day exchange for complete peace of mind.

As Australia’s Best Google Reviewed Jeweller, we’ve helped over 10,000 couples say “I do”, and it’s an honour to help these couples choose luxury anniversary presents featuring GIA certified diamonds 3-4 grades above industry standards and 7-8 grades above most chain retailers.

Let us know which anniversary you’re celebrating and what kind of jewellery your partner likes, and we’ll send you our top 3 suggestions - Contact us!