The symbolism of wedding anniversaries

επέτειος γάμου

Every couple’s wedding anniversary is a beautiful opportunity to re-celebrate their love and commitment. But did you know that this is a tradition that is observed in many countries around the world, is lost in the depths of time and each anniversary has different symbolism and names as well as different suggested gifts for your partner?
Jewellery, either in gold, white gold or even silver, with or without precious stones, is an excellent gift choice for any occasion. However, it is often preferable for people to follow traditions and use symbolism to express their feelings through precious gifts.

What jewellery is it customary for couples to exchange on their anniversaries?


The first wedding anniversary is called a paper wedding anniversary and tradition says that couples exchange watches as a gift. Paper is used as a symbol because of the fine fibers that are intertwined to make a solid material, evoking the union of the new couple and the strengthening of the individuals through that union. The fifth anniversary is called the wooden anniversary and it is customary for couples to exchange silver jewelry. The name wooden comes from the fact that the tree is a strong symbol of the family bond. The ten year wedding anniversary is called the tin anniversary or in some places it is called the pink anniversary and as it is an important milestone in the couple’s life together, the suggested gift is diamond jewellery, or some jewellery made of pink gold or with pink gemstones such as pink sapphires, pink topaz, morganite or pink quartz among others. The name comes from the physical properties of tin, which is a relatively soft metal that was formerly used to weld other metals, so it symbolizes the strengthening of the couple’s love bond that grows stronger over the years. The twelfth is called the silk anniversary and the symbol of this anniversary is pearls or other white gemstones, a symbolism derived from the sails of ships that allow us to sail together on the “waves” of our lives. The fourteenth is called the ivory anniversary and while in earlier times ivory was the suggested material for gifts, after about 1950 it was replaced by gold and so it is customary for couples to exchange gold jewellery, possibly with animal symbols. The reason for choosing ivory comes from Indian mythology where the elephant symbolizes luck and also the blessing that comes from shared achievements.

The twenty-fifth year of marriage brings us to the silver anniversary, to which it is of course fitting to gift silver-coloured jewellery, either made of silver or white gold with colourless or grey gemstones such as diamonds, colourless quartz and grey pearls among others, or even without any stones. Silver, and by extension the color silver, symbolizes sensitivity, compassion, empathy and pure love between the couple. The thirtieth anniversary is called a pearl anniversary in which the gifts suggested are jewellery with a combination of pearls and diamonds. The reason why the pearl symbolizes thirty years of married life together lies in the way the pearl is created within the oyster’s body, where it starts from a foreign body that creates a nuisance and the oyster patiently responds by healing the wound and covering it with layers of nacre, a process that results in a beautiful pearl. This process symbolizes the relationship between the two members of the couple overcoming all obstacles and growing stronger and more beautiful over the years.
The coral anniversary is that of thirty-five years of marriage, on which the gifts are usually jewelry with coral and gold, with or without diamonds. The fortieth is the ruby anniversary, while the forty-fifth is called the sapphire anniversary, in which the corresponding gifts are gold jewelry with rubies and sapphires. Rubies and sapphires belong to the same kind of minerals so they share the same physical properties. The symbolism here comes from the very high durability of these gemstones which is reminiscent of the strength of the relationship over 40 years of shared life.

Golden Wedding Anniversary


Gold is the most important precious metal and has excellent durability properties. This is why it was chosen to mark fifty years of marriage with a golden anniversary and of course with jewellery made of yellow gold, often without stones. The fifty-fifth anniversary is the so-called emerald anniversary because emeralds symbolize true love and devotion mainly because of an old belief that emeralds change color if one is unfaithful, with suggested gifts being emerald and diamond jewelry. The sixtieth is the couple’s diamond anniversary on which they exchange jewellery made of white gold or yellow gold with diamonds. It is an anniversary when couples celebrate their long-standing relationship and deep bond with the king of gemstones by renewing the engagement ring they bought sixty years ago, either by replacing it or framing it with a larger diamond, or by creating a custom-made piece of jewelry that includes the original diamond and more new ones.
Jewelry is the quintessentially timeless symbolic object that we gift to ourselves or our loved ones. Precious metals and gemstones have always spoken to the soul of people and since the beginning of our existence have been protagonists in all the important events in the history of the peoples of the world and the personal history of the lives of individuals. With their colour, durability and natural properties, precious raw materials have always inspired people to use them for anything important and worthy of effort, be it a feeling, an achievement, an idea, a concept, an event or a living being.


Eva Kountouraki GIA G.G.G. A.J.P J.B.M.

Gemologist – Adamantologist

Gemstone and jewellery consultant