Anniversary Gifts by Year: Traditional and Modern Present Ideas

Learn all about the wedding anniversary themes, colors and gemstones. We've got present inspiration for every marriage milestone.
Couple opening anniversary gift
francesca conlin the knot contributor
Francesca Conlin
francesca conlin the knot contributor
Francesca Conlin
The Knot Contributor
  • Francesca Conlin is a Copywriter for Chanel.
  • Francesca is a writer and copywriter specializing in roundups and shopping guides.
  • Francesca is a contributing writer with The Knot.
Updated Dec 09, 2020
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Most everyone knows of the age-old practice (seriously, it dates back to the Middle Ages) of giving specific anniversary gifts based on the number of years you've been wed. The idea behind it? With each anniversary that passes, you strengthen your relationship. So, while these anniversary gifts may start out simple (paper for your first year and flowers for your fourth), their substance and significance increases as your investment to each other does. As time has evolved, though, so have these anniversary gift lists to match our more modern way of living.

Nowadays, each year is associated with anniversary gift "materials" or types, as well as different gemstones and designated colors (or color combinations) that tie into and relate to the anniversary year's overall theme. Together, these four components offer tons of anniversary gift ideas.

Here, we break down the different traditional and modern anniversary gifts by year, plus all the anniversary gemstones, anniversary colors and the meanings behind them. Take this inspiration straight to Etsy, Uncommon Goods or another favorite gift website. But first, click out to our super-comprehensive and shoppable gift guides for each amazing year (we've linked to them all below!).

1-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Paper

Paper is a fitting gift for the first year because it's fragile, just like the beginning stages of marriage. But, if you take care of it properly, it'll last a lifetime.

Modern Gift: Clocks

Time is precious and clocks represent the passing of time and the change and challenges that come with it.

Color: Gold or Yellow

See the "gemstone" below and the material above (which can be yellow-ish).

Gemstone: Gold

Gold isn't technically a gemstone, but the special metal lets couples ease into luxurious gift-giving. A simple gold piece of jewelry (cufflinks for him, a necklace for her) is the way to go.

2-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Cotton

Cotton's woven threads symbolize how you become more interconnected as time goes on and learn to be more flexible.

Modern Gift: China

Both strong and delicate, china indicates the weaknesses and strengths of any relationship.

Color: Red

Because it's red hot—just like your marriage (sorry, we had to).

Gemstone: Garnet

Even though garnet comes in several colors, red garnet is most commonly used in jewelry for the second year.

3-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Leather

Leather represents shelter and security for the third year, much like what a marriage and the home you build with each other symbolizes.

Modern Gift: Crystal or Glass

As a gift, glass and cut crystal both signify and reflect light and beauty.

Color: Jade or White

It's said that jade symbolizes abundance. Meanwhile, white is often associated with purity—like your pure love for one another.

Gemstone: Pearl

A symbol of wisdom and beauty, pearls form many layers over time and the longer they form, the more beautiful they become, much like a marriage.

4-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Fruit or Flowers

Your relationship has fully bloomed by your fourth anniversary, making flowers or ripe fruit an appropriate gift.

Modern Gift: Appliances

A more practical gift, sure, but electrical appliances also embody how settled you feel in your relationship by the fourth year.

Color: Blue or Green

This aligns with the milestone's special gemstone.

Gemstone: Blue Topaz

Long associated with love, romance and affection, blue topaz is the perfect stone to set in a piece of a jewelry as an anniversary present.

5-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Wood

Your roots have sprouted much like a tree by your fifth anniversary, so together you can endure anything.

Modern Gift: Silverware

All the meals you've enjoyed together and will continue to share are best commemorated with beautiful silverware.

Color: Blue, Pink or Turquoise

You've got options, so choose your loved one's favorite of the bunch. Or, mix and match colors—it's all up to you.

Gemstone: Sapphire

Much like wood, sapphire is a hard and durable material that can withstand the test of time just like your relationship.

6-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Iron

Iron marks your strength because even after six years, you can still maintain a bond.

Modern Gift: Wood Objects

Much like the traditional five-year gift, an item made out of wood suggests the resilience of your marriage.

Color: Purple, White or Turquoise

By now, you've probably realized there are a few theme repeats. Already gifted something white or turquoise? Try purple, a regal and magical color, this time around.

Gemstone: Amethyst

Amethyst is made of quartz (which is a strong, heavy stone), making it a gift with lasting power.

7-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Copper or Wool

The metal helps create heat, much like the warmth you give each other. And wool is just plain cozy.

Modern Gift: Desk Sets

This may not sound romantic, but work is a huge part of modern life. Gifting a desk set brings a touch of home to their professional space.

Color: Yellow or Off-White

Celebrate the light of your life with a sunshine-y shade or wool in its natural hue.

Gemstone: Onyx

This hard and durable stone is often used for carving. It's thought to protect marriages from strains and trials as well as represent harmony.

8-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Bronze or Pottery

Like many of the metals, bronze symbolizes strength and indicates that your relationship is getting stronger by the eighth year, too.

Modern Gift: Linen or Lace

Linens and lace are both delicate and refined, and just like love, they're also objects of beauty.

Color: Bronze

Yep, just like the traditional anniversary theme.

Gemstone: Tourmaline

Similar to many other anniversary gemstones, tourmaline is tough against damage and long-lasting. The stone is said to do many things, including bolster relationships.

9-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Willow or Pottery

Willow is indicative of flexibility as is pottery because much like a lump of clay, marriage is formed and shaped over time into something beautiful.

Modern Gift: Leather

Leather was used by our ancestors as a way to protect themselves. The material itself is known for how well it endures, which your marriage has also done by the time you reach the ninth year.

Color: Terracotta

This earthy color is named after clay hardened by baking. Your relationship, meanwhile, has been nurtured by emotional warmth.

Gemstone: Lapis Lazuli

Often used in feng shui to balance negative and positive energies, lapis lazuli is said to encourage honesty as it protects your relationship from any dangers.

10-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Aluminum or Tin

Aluminum and tin won't rust, meaning they won't wear down. Their pliability and preservation is a symbol for how every successful marriage requires flexibility—especially by your 10th anniversary.

Modern Gift: Diamond Jewelry

When you've passed one decade, your marriage is as beautiful as a piece of diamond jewelry.

Color: Silver or Blue

You can't go wrong with either one of these elegant hues.

Gemstone: Diamond

This major milestone qualifies diamonds as fitting and appropriate gifts for both parties.

11-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Steel

Steel is one of the strongest metals on earth, so it's no surprise that it represents the 11th year since by this time, nothing can break your bond.

Modern Gift: Fashion Jewelry

Really, it never gets old and it's wearable every day, so they'll remember the sentiment each time they put it on.

Color: Turquoise

Courtesy of the anniversary's gemstone.

Gemstone: Turquoise

One of the oldest charms against evil, turquoise not only protects but also brings good health, fortune and peace.

12-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Silk or Linen

As they say, home is where the heart is, and these are two home decor staples. Anniversary presents made from these materials symbolize the life you've built together.

Modern Gift: Pearl

Finding a good pearl is like finding hidden treasure—kind of like how it felt when you finally found the love of your life.

Color: Oyster White

When you're together, the world is your oyster. And oysters make pearls.

Gemstone: Jade

This stone attracts love, protection and prosperity.

13-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Lace

Don't think of this year as unlucky. Lace shows the elegance and beauty of the sanctity of marriage for the 13th anniversary. And like we said earlier, it's also strong.

Modern Gift: Textiles or (Faux) Furs

Different fabrics represent the comfort and warmth being married for 13 years brings you.

Color: White

It's a classic color to go with the classic material, lace.

Gemstone: Citrine

Bright yellow citrine will bring both joy and love to your significant other.

14-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Ivory

Ivory as a 14th anniversary gift originates from Hindu mythology and signifies luck and protection. Look for elephant-themed gifts instead of actual ivory if you're going this route. You can also find plenty of other off-white materials that look like ivory.

Modern Gift: Gold Jewelry

Just as significant, gold jewelry represents unification, eternity and perfection.

Color: Ivory

For obvious reasons.

Gemstone: Opal

This stunning multicolor stone symbolizes love, passion and desire—talk about romantic.

15-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Crystal

Crystal may be delicate but it's also sturdy, like your marriage, which is strong enough to have lasted 15 years but also another 15 and beyond. It also represents clarity and transparency.

Modern Gift: Watches

A timepiece in any form signifies the passage of time and all the years you've spent together, plus all the ones you'll share in the future.

Color: Red

It's also a well-known symbol of romance and passion.

Gemstone: Ruby

By 15 years, the flame is still going strong, so it only makes sense that a ruby—the fiery red gemstone—commemorates the year.

16-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Wax

Like a lit candle, you and your SO have an undeniable spark.

Modern Gift: Silver Holloware

Silver holloware (think: anything related to the dinner table that isn't silverware—aka bowls, trays and so on) symbolizes unity since you'll enjoy it when you sit down to dine together for your 16th anniversary.

Color: Silver or Emerald Green

The first is due to the modern theme. The second represents things like harmony.

Gemstone: Peridot

Peridot is a symbol of undying love and devotion. It's also a beautiful shade of green.

17-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional and Modern Gift: Furniture

Gifting each other furniture represents the security, comfort and familiarity of a marriage that has been established for 17 years.

Color: Yellow

We can't get enough of happy hues.

Gemstone: Carnelian

Known as the stone of endurance that also brings joy and warmth, it helps keep a sense of humor in the relationship.

18-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional and Modern Gift: Porcelain

Elegant and refined but also delicate, porcelain signifies the hard work you've put into your marriage to keep it going strong for 18 years without damage. A porcelain gift serves as a reminder to continue to handle your relationship with care.

Color: Blue

This cool, soothing color makes yet another appearance.

Gemstone: Cat's Eye

Named for its resemblance to a cat's eye, this stone keeps a watchful eye over both of you and removes any melancholy from your lives. Beyond that, it also represents love, commitment and happiness.

19-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional and Modern Gift: Bronze

Surprise, surprise—just like the traditional eighth-year gift, bronze indicates that your relationship has grown stronger. Additionally, it also signifies health within your union even through tough times, since some believe it has healing properties.

Color: Bronze

This year's color is based off the traditional (and modern) theme.

Gemstone: Aquamarine

This protection stone will keep everything that's bad out but still keep all the love in for your 19th anniversary.

20-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: China

China shows the delicate and fragile nature of being in love. It needs to be looked after and handled carefully—much like a marriage—in order not to break.

Modern Gift: Platinum

Platinum can stick it out through thick and thin much like you both have after 20 years wed.

Color: Emerald Green

In honor of the anniversary gemstone.

Gemstone: Emerald

The sacred stone of the goddess Venus, emerald is known to preserve love so you can celebrate another 20 years together.

25-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional and Modern Gift: Sterling Silver

Spending a quarter of a century in love is worth celebrating with such a precious and valuable metal. After all, 25 years is known as the "silver anniversary."

Color: Silver

No wonder a 25th anniversary celebration is called a "silver jubilee."

Gemstone: Silver

Silver jewelry radiates brilliantly—as bright as your love—and symbolically represents a clear vision and lucidity for the future. (Like gold for the first anniversary, this isn't technically a gemstone.)

30-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Pearl

Deep down in the ocean, you'll find precious pearls. They represent the hidden beauty of a long-lasting union with maturity that reveals itself from within.

Modern Gift: Diamond

A diamond's long-lasting endurance, beauty and strength appropriately reflects the nature of a 30-year marriage.

Color: Green

Even now, you continue to grow as a couple. And that's what green symbolizes.

Gemstone: Pearl

Both pure and elegant, pearls are timeless just like your relationship.

35-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional Gift: Coral

Yes, just like the coral at the bottom of the sea. It's believed to have magical healing powers that shield you from harm similar to how the love you have for one another protects your union.

Modern Gift: Jade

Jade represents luck, wealth, wisdom and passionate love in relation to so many years of marriage.

Color: Coral

This vibrant mix of pink, red and orange is just as vibrant as your ever-evolving love.

Gemstone: Emerald

The emerald symbolizes long-lasting love and preservation. No wonder it appears so often on this wedding anniversary gift list.

40-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional and Modern Gift: Ruby

Rubies are thought to possess a flame that never burns out, much like your love and commitment after 40 years of marriage.

Color: Red

As in ruby red.

Gemstone: Ruby

Keeping with the theme, the precious ruby gemstone honors the occasion.

45-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional and Modern Gift: Sapphire

Sapphires have long been associated with royalty (Kate Middleton's engagement ring, anyone?) and indicate the longevity of your marriage.

Color: Blue or Red

Yes, sapphire blue. Some also say sapphire red counts.

Gemstone: Sapphire

The gemstone is a shining example to those who also aspire to remain in love for so many years.

50-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional and Modern Gift: Gold

Only something as desirable, classic and luxe as gold can represent such an important milestone (dubbed the "golden anniversary"). It shows the prosperity, wisdom, strength and significance of such a long-standing union.

Color: Gold

Because truly, there's nothing quite like gold.

Gemstone: Gold

Not only is gold beautiful, but it's also strong and resistant to corrosion and is often associated with wealth, wisdom and optimism.

55-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional and Modern Gift: Emerald

Why are emeralds such a popular anniversary theme? It's simple: They signify true love as well as devotion and adoration.

Color: Emerald Green

The green craze continues.

Gemstone: Alexandrite

Known for dispelling negative vibes and bringing positive ones in, Alexandrite brings good fortune and prosperity. It's also undeniably cool: It's rare and changes colors in different light.

60-Year Anniversary Gifts

Traditional and Modern Gift: Diamond

By the time you've gotten to 60 years, it's time to pull out all the stops. Yep, we're talking diamonds. Celebrating such a special anniversary like this one calls for a stone that represents unconquerable and enduring love.

Color: Diamond White

Because your love shines bright like a diamond.

Gemstone: Diamond

The fire in a diamond indicates an undying love that cannot be dulled.

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