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Anniversaries and Birthstones – What They Mean and Handy Lists You Can Use

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TR Robertson

TR Robertson –Anniversary and Birthday Celebrations pop up every year for individuals and couples and many struggle with what to give that special person(s) in their life. I recently celebrated my 45th wedding anniversary and presented my wife, Carolyn, with both the Traditional and Modern gift associated with that marriage anniversary date. There is some history behind the traditional and modern versions for wedding anniversary gifts and for birthday gifts, especially when birthstones are involved for a special birthday gift. Traditionally, the “Silver Anniversary” gift for the 25th wedding anniversary and the “Gold Anniversary” gift for the 50th wedding anniversary was established in Medieval Times, associated with the nobility of that time, the only ones who could afford such extravagance.

During the Victorian Period, the various yearly wedding anniversaries began to be associated with a variety of items for couples to receive. It is recorded that in 1875 the 5th anniversary became associated with wood gifts. Queen Victoria’s 60th Diamond Jubilee, celebrating her 60th year reigning in England, established diamonds as a 60th year celebration. Emily Post, American author of etiquette books, is said to have formerly established a list of celebration items in her Blue Book of Social Usage, which she described as the most accepted items for a couple to receive depending on how long they had been married. In 1937, the American National Retail Jewelers Association, updated and changed the list to what is now referred to as the Modern Gift List.

Receiving a gift on your birthday, of the birthstone designated for the month you were born, has become a popular and personal gift to receive. Historically, one story related to the establishment of the monthly birthstones goes all of the way back to the time of Moses, referenced in the Book of Exodus 28, when it is said that Moses directed the creation of a breastplate for the High Priest of the Hebrews, Aaron, which was to have 12 precious gemstones in the breastplate representing the 12 tribes of Israel. Over time, these stones were also related to the Signs of the Zodiac and the month each of the signs referenced. The stones were also said to have powers of healing and good luck and each stone also brought with it a specific meaning. Also over time, some of the months had additional stones added to that month.

The following is a list of Anniversary Gifts for each year, both the Traditional and the Modern gift item. Following this is the list of the Birthstones by Month and the meaning assigned to these stones. For the Anniversary Gifts, some months never were assigned a Traditional Gift.  Enjoy.

Anniversary Gifts for Each Year

Year                            Traditional Gift                    Modern Gift

  • 1st                                Paper                                       Clocks
  • 2nd                               Cotton                                     China
  • 3rd                                Leather                                    Crystal, Glass
  • 4th                                Linen, Silk                              Electrical Appliances
  • 5th                                Wood                                      Silverware
  • 6th                                Iron                                         Wood
  • 7th                                Wool, Copper             Desk Sets, Pen & Pencil Sets
  • 8th                                Bronze                                    Linen, Lace
  • 9th                                Pottery, China                         Leather
  • 10th                              Tin, Aluminum                       Diamonds, Jewelry
  • 11th                              Steel                           Fashion Jewelry & Accessories
  • 12th                              Silk                                         Pearls & Colored Gems
  • 13th                              Lace                                        Textiles & Furs
  • 14th                              Ivory (banned in U.S.)            Gold & Jewelry
  • 15th                              Crystal                                    Watches
  • 16th                                                                              Silver hollowware
  • 17th                                                                              Furniture
  • 18th                                                                              Porcelain        
  • 19th                                                                              Bronze
  • 20th                              China                                      Platinum
  • 21st                                                                              Brass, Nickel
  • 22nd                                                                             Copper
  • 23rd                                                                              Silver Plate
  • 24th                                                                              Musical Instruments
  • 25th                              Silver                                      Sterling Silver
  • 26th                                                                              Original Pictures
  • 27th                                                                              Sculpture
  • 28th                                                                              Orchids
  • 29th                                                                              New Furniture
  • 30th                              Pearls                                      Diamond
  • 31st                                                                              Timepieces
  • 32nd                                                                             Conveyances
  • 33rd                                                                              Amethyst
  • 34th                                                                              Opal   
  • 35th                              Coral                                       Jade
  • 36th                                                                              Bone China
  • 37th                                                                              Alabaster
  • 38th                                                                              Beryl & Tourmaline
  • 39th                                                                              Lace
  • 40th                              Ruby                                       Ruby
  • 41st                                                                              Land
  • 42nd                                                                             Improved Real Estate
  • 43rd                                                                              Travel
  • 44th                                                                              Groceries
  • 45th                              Sapphire                               Sapphire
  • 46th                                                                              Original Poetry Tribute
  • 47th                                                                              Books
  • 48th                                                                              Optical Goods
  • 49th                                                                              Luxury Items
  • 50th                              Gold                                        Gold
  • 55th                              Emeralds                                 Emeralds
  • 60th                              Diamonds                               Diamonds
  • 75th                              Diamonds & Gold                  Diamonds & Gold
  • If you have stayed together for 60 to 75 years, you definitely deserve Diamonds & Gold.

Birthstones by Month and What They Mean

Month                        Birthstone                                          Meaning                    

  • January                       Garnet                                 Constancy & Safe Travel
  • February                     Amethyst                                            Sincerity
  • March                         Aquamarine & Bloodstone                 Courage
  • April                           Diamond, White Sapphire & Quartz  Innocence
  • May                             Emerald                                              Love & Success
  • June                             Pearl, Moonstone & Alexandrite       Health & Longevity
  • July                             Ruby                                                   Contentment
  • August                        Peridot & Sardonyx                    Married Happiness
  • September                   Sapphire                                              Clear Thinking
  • October                       Opal, Tourmaline & Pink Sapphire    Hope
  • November                   Topaz & Citrine                                 Fidelity
  • December                   Turquoise & Zircon                            Prosperity

Happy shopping and have your credit cards ready depending on what you have to purchase for an anniversary gift or what birthstone you have to buy for a loved one.


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  • Published: 11 months ago on August 6, 2019
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  • Last Modified: August 6, 2019 @ 2:21 am
  • Filed Under: The Back Page

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