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The Ultimate Guide to Anniversary Rings

The Ultimate Guide to Anniversary Rings

For the vast majority of couples, the most important rings they will purchase are their engagement rings and wedding rings.

Typically, an engagement ring will feature a stunning diamond or diamonds – possibly in combination with other gemstones such as rubies, emeralds or sapphires. Wedding rings will often be of more subtle form – frequently selected as a band in the same precious metal as the diamond engagement ring, to sit up against the engagement ring and beautifully complement it.

Of course, more and more, couples are electing to choose bolder designs for both engagement rings and wedding rings, and there are no rules! Couples who are true jewellery lovers collect all sorts of other rings, necklaces, earrings and other items in addition to their engagement and wedding rings. These may be more suited to various occasions or holidays or just moods…

Getting engaged and getting married are absolutely huge, life changing and defining events. These milestone moments are rightly marked, celebrated and symbolised by rituals, ceremonies, receptions, parties and of course very special rings and other gifts. You’ll never forget your wedding day - and the date of your wedding day, right? (Guys, we’re looking at you…!) That date should be lovingly remembered, commemorated and celebrated every year – this joyous yet meaningful annual observance is known as your anniversary!

Anniversaries should be fun and fabulous days, even though they mark the date of an incredibly significant embarkation and subsequent magical journey in life. Anniversaries can be celebrated privately, or they can be festivals! Anniversaries can be a great reason to go for a romantic dinner or holiday. And anniversaries should involve flowers and thoughtful gifts.


Most people are aware that there are traditional themes which are suggested for the exchange of gifts each year at wedding anniversaries, though we don’t think many people can recite the list! These themes go back a long way; before medieval times.

1st year is paper, 2nd year is cotton, 3rd year is leather… and so on. By the 5th year you’re looking at wood (?!), 12 years – silk… and it goes on, all the way to 60 years. These are the conventional ‘themes’ you can use when gifting for wedding anniversaries each year

But there are a whole bunch of other possibilities or categories as well. There’s the ‘modern’ themes, which go: 1st year – Clocks, 2nd year – China, 3rd year – Crystal, 15th year – Watches, and so on. A theme for every year.

Then there’s colours which correspond to annual anniversaries: 1st year – yellow or gold, 2nd year – red, 3rd year – white, 10th year – blue, etc.

And there is a precious stone for every year too. This list is different to the silver, gold and diamond anniversaries which are classifications within the canon of traditional themes. Without noting them all here - to give you an idea - it starts off with: 1st year – pearl, 2nd year – garnet or rose quartz, 3rd Year – jade… skip forward to 5 years and we have sapphire; 15 years you want ruby, and so on. One for every year, it varies a bit in different countries and there are alternative gemstones suggested as well.

It’s unlikely that many people follow these themes for presents or suggestions for gemstones to the letter every year on their anniversary, and we are not recommending that you do. But, a special gift for particular anniversaries which have significance for you is a wonderful way to honour your vows, be proud of your achievements as a couple, pay tribute to your ongoing commitment and dedication to one another through the triumphs and tribulations of marriage and being.

Colours, cotton and clocks aside, perhaps a more special gift for significant wedding anniversaries is a more heartfelt gesture?

With such an important symbol of your nuptials being your diamond engagement ring and wedding ring, why not celebrate important anniversaries with the precious gift of exquisite rings, as a superb symbol of the perpetuity of your passion?


This is the best thing about anniversary rings – there are no rules. Anniversary rings can be worn every day or occasionally when desired, worn sometimes for fun as an alternative to engagement and wedding rings, worn alongside your diamond engagement ring and wedding ring, or on another finger on your left or right hand, or they can even replace wedding bands. The possibilities are numerous and exciting! But you’ll need to put some thought into this before selecting an anniversary ring

If you think you’d prefer to ‘co-ordinate’ your anniversary ring with your existing engagement and wedding rings – and wear them all together on the same finger, then you’ll clearly need to match the anniversary ring so that it fits alongside and nicely complements the rings from the big day.

This usually means a ring in the same style and precious metal as your wedding band, in the same size and probably the same sort of gemstones, if you have them on your wedding band. Different types of gemstones which complement those in your wedding band and/or engagement ring could work here, but it would need to be carefully assessed. An anniversary ring to be worn on the same finger as the existing rings is usually a band in a style close to the wedding band but perhaps with additional embellishments.

For instance, many people have a spectacular diamond engagement ring and a relatively simple wedding band which are worn together on the third finger of the left hand. A popular choice for anniversary rings is a band which can be worn up against the plain wedding band, in the same style and precious metal but with a row or rows of diamonds which present as a classy counterpart to the diamond or diamonds in the engagement ring.

If you have a central diamond flanked by smaller sapphires on your engagement ring, perhaps you can bring sapphires into play with your anniversary band. A ring like this is known as an Eternity Band. Concepts with eternity bands can include diamond accents which reflect the actual anniversary – e.g. 5 diamond accents for a 5 year anniversary. Or you might like to have a band featuring your children’s birth stones. Or if your wedding ring is an eternity band in yellow gold with inset diamonds, you could go for an eternity band (with inset diamonds) in white gold or rose gold – the mixed metals work beautifully together.

Of course, if you plan to wear the anniversary ring on the other hand, then it doesn’t need to complement your engagement and wedding rings, unless you prefer to carefully co-ordinate your overall look. The choice is yours. You might like to have anniversary rings which are quite different in style and form, which more accurately express the person you are 5 or 10 years on from your wedding, which you can wear on the other hand, or for instance to a party - in lieu of your usual rings. You can really make a statement with an anniversary ring if you want to; go on - say it loud - if that’s your personality! As US industry expert, jeweller Zaven Ghanimian advocates, “Jewelry should always be reflective of the person wearing it. When looking for anniversary rings, think about what is most important to you as a couplke. What about this moment are you trying to capture?”

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Why not go for gold! That’s a nod to the suggestion in popular culture, as mentioned above. It’s classic, speaks of romance; looks great in contemporary or traditional designs. It can be in matching gold or complementary (one of the other golds), and possibly a more elaborate creation.


Celebrating these anniversaries with special rings might not be common, but gifts of beautiful jewellery are never wrong! Consider the ‘theme’ stones mentioned above (garnet and pearl, respectively). These can feature on ‘dress rings’ which might be worn on a date night or to a concert or party; or as the highlight on elegant earrings or necklaces. Sparkling diamond studs, drops and pendants are of course a wonderful gift. We definitely recommend a special anniversary gift which comes out of the blue – not just 1 year, 5 years, 10 years etc. – and diamond earrings, necklaces and bracelets are perfect for romantic surprise gifting!


Five years is one of the most popular anniversaries and the traditional stone for this is the sophisticated and gorgeous sapphire. Sapphires traditionally represent honesty and loyalty, so befitting for this important anniversary. Most people associate sapphires with a rich, majestic blue colour, but they also come in many other hues, including yellow and pink, and they are totally versatile in terms of styles and settings.


A decade of domestic bliss is certainly a major milestone and deserves to be celebrated accordingly! A romantic getaway could be a good idea; most definitely a fabulous night out together at least – and for the ring – it’s got to be a diamond! A beautiful diamond ring is arguably the best gift going around at any point in time, but for this anniversary which is such a happy occasion and a landmark to be proud of, a diamond speaks to the passage of time in a wonderfully sentimental way. A diamond ring literally reminds you both of that time when you exchanged engagement and wedding rings all those years ago.


Platinum and emeralds are suggested as the precious metal and gemstones for the double-decade anniversary. If these aren’t your favourite combinations, don’t worry, 20 years is an impressive achievement, and you deserve to treat each other to whatever you want!


Of course, there are many years in between the milestone years, and for many couples there are many anniversaries beyond 20 years which are up for celebrating. There are plenty of traditional and contemporary suggestions and recommendations around - on the internet, amongst family and friends - and of course your jeweller will be happy to discuss ideas with you.

As we said, we recommend at least once surprising your partner with a special anniversary gift they’re not expecting. At DX, we love helping our customers choose amazing anniversary gifts. If an anniversary is coming up for you and your special someone, Diamond Exchange can assist you with stimulating inspiration and expert advice.