Few pieces of jewelry are as iconic as an engagement or a wedding ring. While modern styles have deviated from the diamond solitaire and plain band pairing, most casual observers know exactly what these fine jewelry pieces mean. There is a third icon, however, that deserves just as much time in the spotlight of admiration: anniversary rings. Typically worn by a bride to celebrate “milestone” anniversaries, culture (and a love for natural and simulated diamond jewelry) has evolved the meaning of these beautiful bands into an “any year” celebration.
While special anniversaries like the 10th, 25th, 50th, and beyond are popular ring-giving events, other milestones mark events worth celebrating in a couple’s romantic life. Anniversary rings are even used as celebratory gifts by couples that haven’t married yet. It has become more common to see a man searching for an anniversary ring or necklace for a girlfriend. But they are increasingly becoming more popular to celebrate other milestone worthy events as well. Rather than a simple passage of time, the happy couple might choose to celebrate other milestones like the birth of a child, a move to another state or country, or even buying their first home together. Each of these events can be incorporated into anniversary band ideas that involve different colored stones, certain arrangements of stones, and so on. Here are a couple of eye-catching ideas to commemorate life’s milestones while sharing your unique love story with the world – through the beauty of precious gems and fine jewelry:
The Family that Sparkles Together: Children help make a house a home, and for many couples, the arrival of one (or several) bundles of joy marks a happy transition in their lives together. On the anniversary years the child or children are born, the mother might elect to add an anniversary ring that features a gem the color of the child’s birthstone, “stacking” it with her existing wedding, engagement, and anniversary rings. Alternately, she might prefer to keep a “base” anniversary band-style ring with room for incorporating additional faceted gems as her relationship – and her family – grows. These rings or additional stones can be commemorated with matching engraving on the inside of the band: names or simply dates mark the arrival of each child, wrapping around the ring’s interior. For couples with furry “children,” the same idea can be applied to the addition of cherished pets to the household.
New Address, New Look: Buying your first house together can easily be as life-changing an event as walking down the aisle together. The joys and struggles of setting up everything from appliances to a new mailbox bring you closer together and deepen the bonds of marriage. Commemorating the event with an anniversary band is the perfect way to remember how special your connection is, and how your new home was built on – and with – an abundance of love. Whether you add a sparkling band after the move is completed or give one to your spouse over the signing table to mark the occasion, it’s a reminder that you’ve not only put down amazing roots together but that they’ll always be lovingly intertwined.
The Honeymoon Lifestyle: Travel is one of the most delightful adventures that married couples can explore – new locales, new memories, and souvenirs to spark stories and fond recollections years from now. Once you arrive back home together from anniversary travels abroad or to far-flung domestic destinations, why not start two traditions? Frequent flyer miles may fade, but the glimmer of a beautiful anniversary band never will. For an added personal touch, engrave the latitude and longitude of your destination city on the inside of the band.
Are Anniversary Rings Just For Women?
Modern wedding jewelry is still fairly traditional, by and large: the groom-to-be presents the bride-to-be with an engagement ring while asking if she’ll marry him. If she agrees to, she’ll wear the engagement ring until the wedding, and either replace it with or wear it alongside her wedding ring once she exchanges her vows. The groom will not typically wear any jewelry until the wedding day and will wear a band, usually one that matches the bride’s, after the exchange of vows. Until the 1940s, it was unusual for a man to wear a wedding ring, but the practice came into vogue as a way for WWII soldiers to feel close to their wives back home.
Today, these traditions are still very much alive, but so are new and modern interpretations. It’s not unheard of for a woman to propose to a man, and many contemporary men’s wedding bands incorporate faceted gems like diamond alternatives or other stones. While men’s anniversary rings may not be mainstream, there are more than enough intriguing designs to start a new tradition. With an abundance of emerging styles and designs, you can be sure to find the perfect diamond gifts for men. As men’s styles don’t usually come in “stackable” designs, couples interested in exchanging anniversary bands the way they once did wedding bands might consider simply upgrading or replacing their wedding bands.
So, in short, no: diamond and diamond alternative anniversary bands can be worn by both men and women, as personal tastes in jewelry dictate.
What Does An Anniversary Ring Look Like?
Wedding rings come in a variety of precious metals, designs, and may or may not use cut gems in their styling. Anniversary bands are crafted the same way, with nearly infinite variety to truly delight their wearers. When shopping for an anniversary band for yourself or your spouse, here are a few of the more popular styles you can expect to see:
The “Nested” Band: These offset arch or curved ring designs are sculpted to sit against or beneath an existing ring. This technique is common to bridal sets, but edges and curves may be less pronounced in an engagement ring. This is because the ring is most likely to be purchased well after the wedding ceremony, and thus unlikely to be perfectly matched to the original rings. The understated “wiggle room” of the design ensures that the fit is comfortable, regardless of existing rings surrounding it.
The “Eternity” Band: Like a diamond tennis bracelet, these stunning anniversary bands are made of a solid row of set gems, connected at their edges. The effect is a brilliant sparkle from every angle and a contemporary look that brides of all ages would be proud to show off to friends or around the office. An eternity band is an ideal choice for milestone anniversaries, with dozens or even hundreds of edge-set stones that capture the light perfectly.
The “Traditional” Band: Anniversary bands may also follow a familiar 3-stone design, with a large oval center stone on a plain precious metal band, flanked by two smaller stones. The addition of the two stones differentiates the ring from an engagement ring, which is usually only a classic single center stone. These design lines have been considerably blurred, however, with engagement rings becoming more ornate and traditional anniversary rings evolving and changing as well.
The “Artistic” Band: These rings use a non-traditional silhouette that’s a work of art all by itself. They aren’t meant to be worn on top of or alongside other rings. Instead, they stand as their own beautiful piece. Expect bold design with these types of rings and a decidedly modern flair.
Which Presents Correspond With Wedding Anniversaries?
Wedding tradition has usually dictated that during each year of marriage, spouses should give one another gifts based on a certain theme. This structure of gift-giving was once a very practical measure for newlywed couples, who celebrated their anniversaries by adding items like pottery or an iron pot to their mutual home as their marriage aged and prospered. Today, these anniversary gifts are of a far more celebratory nature, inviting loving partners to come up with their own creative wedding anniversary ring ideas.
Milestone anniversaries – the 1st, 10th, 25th, and 50th, for example – make this task considerably easier, as they involve precious metals and gemstones. For example, the first year of marriage together usually calls for gold as the appropriate theme of the anniversary. This is an excellent time to give one another pieces of jewelry – necklaces, for example – to complement your wedding rings. Or, you can give an anniversary ring by the year. The 10th anniversary is considered a diamond anniversary, with the 25th and 50th represented as silver and gold (once more), respectively.
Spouses can decide for themselves how to celebrate anniversaries, whether it be with a quiet dinner each year or a new beautiful piece of anniversary jewelry to mark the occasion. It’s no longer considered “bad form” not to adhere to the gift-giving tradition, so long as your mutual anniversary is welcomed and celebrated joyfully each year.
Look To The Future
Nesting and stacking rings are intended to be worn at the same time, but some wives aren’t able to wear them due to work or personal preference. In order to ensure you or your spouse get to enjoy anniversary rings to the fullest, always double-check fit and don’t be afraid to discuss future jewelry additions. If you talk about future jewelry now, it will prevent needing to choose which to wear later: when in doubt, stick with slender bands that won’t pinch the skin in groups. Also, stay with a single color of precious metal whenever possible for a more cohesive look.
For all fine jewelry in the home or worn out, insurance documentation will provide valuable peace of mind. Store any and all paperwork pertaining to your jewelry in a safe place at home, and always take a few clear pictures for insurance documentation. No matter the total cost of your new anniversary band, there’s still no sense taking chances over it becoming misplaced. Always offer a new anniversary ring with a presentation ring box from the manufacturer, as well. This will give your spouse a place to safely store the ring’s she’s currently wearing if they don’t stack well.
An immersive cleaning bath is almost always an excellent idea to give along with any ring: hard (unfiltered) water can make tarnishes and blemishes seem even worse. Instead, gently remind your spouse to avoid wearing their ring while showering or doing dishes to keep buildup and soap scum from dimming their sparkle.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative
The look of diamonds and diamond alternatives is classic, and the white faceted stones of your anniversary band are sure to turn heads. However, don’t let that familiar style lull you into jewelry complacency. Your anniversary ring should tell the tale of the wearer and of her spouse; it should show the world the deep bonds of love you share. Mix up colors of cut gems, experiment with precious metal tones, and take the browsing process slowly. The right anniversary ring is out there, just waiting for you to find it.
Rather than a simple band, consider trying an off-set design, or even an open horseshoe design to further differentiate your personal style. These non-traditional anniversary rings are as chic and fabulous as the infamous “right-hand rings” and just as sure to pick up attention wherever they’re worn. For brides, just like a wedding dress and flower bouquet, they’re an indelible part of the moments spent with your spouse.
If a new design has you concerned about damaging or losing stones while at work, be sure to pick a fine jewelry manufacturer that stands by their work. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy wearing and admiring your new pieces without being concerned about them getting dented or scuffed – this is another important reason to stay diligent about filing any paperwork received from the manufacturer.
Anniversary rings, like your connection to one another, have no beginning and no end. They’re both timeless and beautiful. They’re a sparkling reminder of the incredible things you’ve done and accomplished together. Most of all, this piece of jewelry should reflect you and your own sense of style, all while symbolizing how close and loving you are to your spouse. The next anniversary that arrives, be sure to have your jewelry for your wife purchased and safely tucked away to surprise her – she’ll feel like a blushing bride all over again when she peeks at your gorgeous faceted gems.
Interested in learning more about different fine jewelry? Check out our guide to bridesmaid jewelry gift ideas and stacked wedding rings!
1 “15 Fun Facts About Wedding Rings.” Timeless Wedding Bands.com, (no publish date), https://www.timelessweddingbands.com/blog/15-Fun-Facts-About-Wedding-Rings. Accessed September 18, 2019.
2 “Difference Between Eternity Ring and Anniversary Ring.” Dazzling Rock.com, March 8, 2018, https://www.dazzlingrock.com/blog/2018/03/difference-between-eternity-and-anniversary-ring/. Accessed September 18, 2019.
3 Fried, Michael. “Anniversary Rings: What to Get (and Why) for Each Year.” The Diamond Pro(diamonds.pro), (no publish date), https://www.diamonds.pro/education/anniversary-rings/. Accessed September 18, 2019.
*Diamond Nexus strives to provide valuable information, while being clear and honest about our products. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a patented lab grown stone that, among all simulants, most closely imitates the look, weight and wear of a mined diamond, with two exceptions – it is absolutely perfect in every way, and it costs significantly less. Price points and environmental facts expressed in this blog were taken from popular online retailers and may vary. Learn more about the environmental impact of mining by visiting our blog.