A Wedding Anniversary Guide

A wedding anniversary is a significant milestone in a couple’s relationship and should be celebrated. In this guide, we give you all the information you need to surprise the love of your life with the perfect anniversary ring. Whether you’re looking for traditional or modern, a specific metal or gemstone, we’ve got you covered.

Traditional Vs. Modern Anniversary Gifts

Each milestone anniversary is traditionally associated with a different material, such as a metal or gemstone. For example, it is customary to gift pearl jewelry for the 30th anniversary. You can find a list of these traditional anniversary gifts online. However, there is also a modern version of this list where the metals and gemstones associated with each year are slightly different. For example, in this version, pearls are given for the 12th anniversary instead of the 30th.

While there are no hard and fast rules about using these lists, they can give you ideas if you’re stuck thinking of gifts for milestone anniversaries. We will now look at some anniversary rings and how to choose one that your partner will love.

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What Is An Anniversary Ring?

An anniversary ring represents a marriage milestone and is typically given on a significant anniversary, such as the 5th, 10th, 25th, or 50th wedding anniversary. However, anniversary rings can also be given at any other time and can be used to mark any important milestone or life event, such as the birth of a child – they can even be given on Valentine’s Day! In addition, anniversary rings can be simple, in the form of an eternity band, or more elaborate, depending on your partner’s style preferences.

What Is The Difference Between A Wedding Ring And An Anniversary Ring?

In terms of physical appearance, nothing. Anniversary rings frequently appear quite similar to wedding rings. What makes them different is the meaning you attach to them and the time they are given. For instance, wedding rings are usually exchanged during the wedding ceremony and symbolize the eternal love and commitment of the individuals getting married. Anniversary rings, on the other hand, are generally gifted to commemorate a specific anniversary or significant life event.

The only visible difference between a wedding and an anniversary band is the finger on which they are worn. In most western countries, the wedding band is worn on the ring finger on the left hand. It is sometimes paired with an engagement ring or worn on its own. However, an anniversary ring can be worn on any finger on either the left or right hand.

Guide to Choosing an Anniversary Ring

How do I choose an anniversary ring?

Couples can shop for an anniversary ring in a similar manner to an engagement ring. However, since your relationship with your spouse is likely to be more well-established after a few years of marriage, you may feel more comfortable shopping for one on your own and making it a surprise. Alternatively, you may decide to shop for one together. But there is no right or wrong way to go about it; choosing a ring your partner will love is all that matters.

However, if you do decide to shop for an anniversary band on your own, remember to keep your partner’s existing jewelry in mind. This will ensure that it matches the rest of their jewelry and, subsequently, their style. After all, you wouldn’t want to waste time looking at vintage anniversary rings when all your partner really wants is a ring that’s modern and minimalistic, would you?

If you are unsure, it is always a good idea to enlist the help of a professional jewelry consultant who will advise you on the design of the ring. Alternatively, you could discuss your ideas with your partner and decide on the design together. That way, everybody wins.

Depending on your year of marriage, you might also want to consider buying an anniversary ring with a specific gemstone or precious metal to mark the occasion. For example, a ruby anniversary ring can be given for the 15th and 40th years, while sapphire anniversary rings are appropriate for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.

If you are thinking about taking this route, this next section will give you a list of anniversary rings by year.

Anniversary Rings By Year

As we mentioned above, each wedding anniversary is signified by a particular material, such as paper or leather. However, each anniversary year also has a precious metal or gemstone attached to it. This is a more traditional approach to choosing an anniversary band and may not appeal to everyone, but it can help if you are feeling overwhelmed by all your choices. Here is a list of common anniversary rings by year:

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1st Anniversary – Gold

A 1st-year anniversary naturally carries a great deal of meaning and should be celebrated. The couple is still probably in the honeymoon phase at this point in the marriage and is laying the foundation for the years to come.

It is, therefore, unsurprising that gold is usually exchanged for a 1st-year anniversary, with yellow gold being the most traditional option. However, rose and white gold are also acceptable choices, especially if your partner prefers these types of gold. Alternatively, you could opt for a tri-color anniversary ring with all three types of gold to represent your past, present, and future.

5th Anniversary – Sapphire

The blue sapphire is a popular 5-year anniversary ring, though it comes in many other colors besides blue. Some common ones include white, various shades of pink, and violet. Sapphire is also a hard and durable gemstone, making it an excellent choice for any jewelry piece required to last a lifetime.

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10th Anniversary – Diamond

Arguably the most precious gemstone of all, the diamond needs no introduction and makes for an exquisite 10-year wedding anniversary ring to give your soulmate.

20th Anniversary – Emerald

Twenty years of marriage is by no means a small feat. On the contrary, it takes a significant amount of hard work and dedication from both partners to reach this level of commitment. It makes sense, then, that emerald is usually given as a 20-year anniversary gift because, even though emerald is naturally flawed, the gemstone is treated to improve its clarity and strength – much like the way two individuals in a relationship accept that neither one of them is perfect and work to overcome their shortfalls; each for the sake of the other.

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men's silver rings

25th Anniversary – Silver

The 25th wedding anniversary is known as the silver jubilee. Therefore, the obvious gift for this milestone anniversary is an item made from this metal. It doesn’t necessarily have to be jewelry; think home accents, dinnerware, and utensils, such as a set of silver serving spoons. Of course, you can also find a range of beautiful sterling silver 25th-anniversary rings to choose from if your significant other would prefer to receive jewelry.

40th Anniversary – Ruby

A symbol of passion and love, ruby is the gemstone for 40th anniversaries.

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Golden Ring 60 Years

50th Anniversary – Gold

There’s a reason why gold comes up twice in this anniversary guide. Namely, that half a century of marriage is a milestone that should be celebrated with the same amount of pomp and fanfare as when the couple initially tied the knot.

60th Anniversary – Diamond

Any couple who makes their 60th wedding anniversary deserves an award. Unsurprisingly, the gemstone associated with the 60th wedding anniversary is the most prestigious one of all – the diamond.

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Modern Alternatives

As we mentioned before, choosing an anniversary ring by year is not everyone’s cup of tea. You may find it old-fashioned, or perhaps you dislike the stone or metal associated with a particular year. To be sure, traditional anniversary stones and metals have their place, but for the modern couple, the sky’s the limit.

Nowadays, couples opt for unique anniversary rings that best suit their partner’s sense of style. For example, suppose your partner’s favorite color is blue and they like to wear shades of this color frequently. In this case, nothing is stopping you from purchasing an anniversary ring set with sapphire or blue topaz, even if your anniversary falls on a year associated with a red gem.

Matching Anniversary Rings

Another approach that some couples use when looking at anniversary ring designs is to choose a band that complements their existing wedding and engagement rings. This allows them to wear it on the same finger as their wedding set.

Contrasting Anniversary Rings

However, just because you have matching wedding bands doesn’t mean the anniversary ring must match too. In fact, some couples prefer to commemorate their marriage milestone with a contrasting band that represents their personal sense of style. In this way, the differences between the rings can highlight how you and your partner differ from one another while still complementing each other at the same time.

The bottom line when it comes to buying an anniversary ring, whether you decide to take a traditional or modern approach, is that it represents your love for each other. After all, every couple’s love story is different, so don’t feel restricted when you go shopping for your special occasion.

Popular Anniversary Ring Styles

No anniversary ring guide would be complete without a section on anniversary ring styles. Here is a selection of some of the most popular ones:

Eternity Ring | diamond jewelry

Eternity Ring / Band

A popular ring style for a one-year anniversary is the eternity band. Eternity anniversary bands are relatively simple and usually feature a single row of diamonds encircling the band, although semi-eternity bands are also available. Eternity rings are a good option for those who want their anniversary ring to match their wedding set since this style of ring pairs well with most wedding bands and engagement rings. Of course, an eternity band is not exclusively given as a first-year anniversary gift; in fact, it makes a rather appropriate 10th-anniversary ring since the gemstone associated with this year is the diamond.

Three-stone Ring

The three-stone ring is a popular anniversary band due to its inherent symbolism since many people associate the three gems with the past, present, and future. In addition, this style of ring offers versatility because the gemstones need not necessarily be diamonds – you can replace them with pearls for your 30 year anniversary, for example. It also makes the perfect anniversary ring for her if you have children because you can have it custom-designed to feature their birthstones.

Three Stone Ring

Five Stone Ring

Five-stone Ring

The five-stone ring is another popular anniversary ring design, especially for the five-year anniversary mark. It is said to symbolize the past achievements of the couple, such as moving in together or the birth of a child. Like the three-stone ring, you may opt to replace the traditional diamonds with other gemstones to make the ring more appropriate for a specific anniversary year.

Multiple Rows Ring

The rings above are all common choices for women’s anniversary rings. They also feature relatively simple designs, making them excellent gifts for the early years of marriage when the couple is just starting out. However, there usually comes a point in the marriage when you are more financially stable. When this happens, you may wish to spoil your significant other with something a bit more extravagant, like this multiple rows anniversary ring from ICONIC.

Multiple Row Ring

Twist Ring

Twisted Ring

Twisted rings are a common style seen in ruby anniversary rings for couples commemorating 40 years of marriage (although ruby is also the gemstone associated with the 15th anniversary). Sentimental and unique, twisted anniversary bands represent the intertwining of two lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What finger should you wear your anniversary ring on?

There are no set rules for this, but many people choose to wear their anniversary ring on the ring finger of their right hand because it sets it apart from their wedding and engagement rings.

Does the anniversary ring replace the wedding band?

No, an anniversary band doesn’t replace a wedding ring. Rather, it complements it.

Which anniversary do you celebrate with an anniversary band?

The anniversary you choose to gift your spouse with an anniversary band is entirely up to you. However, most couples choose to exchange anniversary bands on milestone anniversaries, which come around every five to ten years.

Can you buy anniversary rings for men?

Yes, ICONIC has a range of men’s anniversary bands featuring a variety of precious metals and stones.

How much should you spend on an anniversary ring?

It depends on what you can comfortably afford. A ring is a great way to commemorate a special occasion or anniversary, but that doesn’t mean breaking the bank. 

Do you still wear your engagement ring after you get married?

Yes, most women choose a matching wedding band to wear with their engagement ring after the wedding.

When can you give a sapphire ring as an anniversary band?

Sapphires are typically associated with the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. Still, nothing is stopping you from giving a sapphire ring to your partner at any other point in your marriage, especially if your partner is fond of the color blue.

How many years does an emerald anniversary ring signify?

20 years

My partner’s birthstone is garnet. Are garnet anniversary rings appropriate?

Garnet is the gem associated with the 2nd anniversary and makes for a stunning anniversary ring, especially when paired with white gold.

When is it customary to gift diamond jewelry?

It is customary to give your spouse a diamond band or other diamond jewelry on your ten-year anniversary. However, your 60th anniversary is known as your diamond jubilee, and couples who reach this point in their marriage usually also exchange diamond jewelry.

When is it customary to gift diamond jewelry?

Not unless you want to. You can wear your engagement ring, wedding band and anniversary ring altogether!

Which precious metal is associated with the 25th anniversary?

Sterling silver.

Which gemstone do you see in 30th-anniversary rings?

Pearl is traditionally associated with 30 years of marriage.

Which gemstone is exchanged on the 80th wedding anniversary?


Which precious metals are associated with each anniversary?

There is usually some variation between traditional and modern anniversary gift guides regarding precious metals, but here are the most common ones by year:
1st – gold
6th – iron
7th – copper
8th – bronze
10th – tin
11th – steel
20th – platinum
25th – silver
50th – gold