The Macklowe Gallery Comprehensive Guide to Anniversary Gifts
The age-old practice of giving gifts to your beloved for the anniversary of your marriage is marked each year by a traditional gift meant to be offered for the specific milestone. Due to the fact that these symbolic gestures oftentimes date back to the Middle Ages, it can be difficult to find modern applications of the tradition. We at Macklowe Gallery thought we’d make the sometimes onerous task of choosing the perfect present not only easier, but downright delightful with this studied and comprehensive guide to celebrating your most important romantic milestones. Within you’ll find an enticing mix of gemstones and decorative arts, each containing a message and a promise, a celebration and a commemoration, of what you have achieved and what you have to come.
FIRST ANNIVERSARY: PAPER
Works on paper are held dear to collectors' hearts because of their delicate beauty and stunning particularity. As such, paper is a wonderfully fitting gift for a newly wedded couple as it, too, is easily torn, but, if carefully tended to, will last a lifetime. As specialists in turn of the century lithography, we at Macklowe Gallery care deeply about works on paper, and particularly about the oeuvre of famed poster maker Alphonse Mucha, whose lithographs are infused with luxe abundance and intricate romanticism. This arresting pair of prints, unusually rendered in a horizontal orientation, capture a peaceful awakening at dawn and an undisturbed moment of respite at dusk, perhaps representing a perfect day in a harmonious union.
SECOND ANNIVERSARY: GARNET
Though a red garnet is the more typical present for a second anniversary, we think this green demantoid garnet ring, featuring the much rarer and brighter variant of the stone, is certainly worth consideration. The stone is primarily found in Russia’s Ural Mountains, but the word “demantoid” actually comes from the Dutch word “demant,” meaning diamond. It was given this confusing moniker because a demantoid garnet will shine much brighter than a diamond, as it has a higher refractive index, illuminating the wonderful hue of the stone.The ring itself dates back to the Victorian era, a time period when nearly all jewels, but particularly rings, were seen as tokens or representation of romantic love and devotion.
THIRD ANNIVERSARY: LEATHER
A durable but flexible material, leather is the symbolic gift for the third year of marriage. Prized for more than just its enduring nature and material leeway, leather also offers craftsmen a wonderful medium for intricate patterning, an offering well utilized by Renaissance artisans. This Tiffany Studios ink blotter belongs to the Tiffany “Venetian” desk set, a series executed with intricate detailing in relief, intended to mimic the appearance of tooled leather.
FOURTH ANNIVERSARY: FLOWERS
By your fourth anniversary your marriage is said to be “in bloom,” with flowers and fresh fruit making a poetic choice in gift for the occasion. Unlike traditional blossoms that wilt over time, this freshly floral ring by Marchak Paris, featuring satiny green cabochon emeralds and sparkling diamonds set in leaves of gold and diamond, will never fade.
The gift of wood is given to symbolize the roots of a marriage beginning to reach its most fertile ground. Like a young tree taking root or a flower unfurling in early bloom, this Gaillard table is a beauty at first glance, but all the more alluring as its four nesting leaves are revealed. Allowing the natural grain of the wood to serve as decoration for the elegantly refined piece, Gaillard created a masterpiece that celebrates and honors the material with which it was made.
SIXTH ANNIVERSARY: AMETHYST
Celebrated for its strength and reliable clarity, amethyst, with its rich purple hue, is a wonderful way to commemorate six years together. The purple color associated with the amethyst stone combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red, making it a meaningful primary color for a maturing union still in comparatively early stages. This Victorian rivière and earring set features gracefully and simply set amethysts in refined gold mounts known as “collets,” which enhance the eye's reading of the necklace and earrings as a wearable river, with cascades of rich, sparkling purple gems.
SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY: COPPER
A highly conductive metal, copper is the traditional gift for a seventh anniversary in part because of its ability to produce and spread warmth. Unlike the cool allure of most metals, copper’s warm hues and conductive properties make it the perfect symbol of romance. Claude Linossier, a master of the ancient metalwork technique known as dinanderie, used copper to soften and add texture to his remarkable Art Deco creations in mixed metal.
EIGHTH ANNIVERSARY: TOURMALINE
Coming in an astonishing variety of very special hues, the unique coloration, versatility and durability of the tourmaline stone is a wonderful gemstone to celebrate a marriage. Just as a marriage can be understood as a vast array of astonishing phenomena in a reliable structure, this brooch, by the famed French house, René Boivin, celebrates with a sensitive touch the range of colors available, and frames them in an elegantly refined architecture.
NINTH ANNIVERSARY: POTTERY
Pottery is the traditional gift for a ninth anniversary because it exemplifies the refined beauty to be made of something as crude as a lump of clay. Though this piece is not a literal example of pottery, it is a wonderful example of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s ability to translate the beauty of one medium into another. This work was inspired by the pottery and basket weaving of the American Southwest, which Tiffany spent most of his adult life deeply enamored with. With its earthen tones and fluid geometry, this delicate glass piece miraculously encapsulates the weight and beauty of traditional pottery with great beauty.
TENTH ANNIVERSARY: DIAMOND
The diamond anniversary! A decade together deserves no less. The hardest mineral known to man, and perhaps the most universally sought after, the diamond, like a great romance, is prized for its clarity and its strength. This wonderful necklace, perfect for a night out or every day wear, is a romantic composition featuring a beautiful array of the world’s most precious gem.
FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY: CRYSTAL
The gift of crystal is given on a 15th anniversary in part because it is one of the few materials that can hold intricate, carved decoration and still maintain its perfect transparency, in addition to magnifying ancillary designs. Dating from the 1880s, this Victorian era bi-color gold brooch depicts a coastal scene of ducks in flight, in reverse-painted rock crystal, set above a mother-of-pearl ground. Once the rock crystal had been shaped into a dome, the design was drawn on the reverse with watercolor, etched with a scribe pencil, and engraved into the reverse with steel tools tipped with diamond dust and oil. The image was then painted with extremely fine brushes, and the jewel was sealed with plain or etched mother-of-pearl, to astonishing effect.
TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY: PORCELAIN
A homage to the multilayered delicacy and splendor that is love, the traditional gift for a 20th anniversary is ultra-fine porcelain. This Rozenburg piece serves as a wonderful example of such sensitive beauty, both in design and marvelous form. The piece itself seems to be a meditation on the beautiful and the fragile, with such motifs as a spider’s web being prominently and masterfully included in the design.
TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY: SILVER
Known as the “Silver Jubilee,” your 25th anniversary should be an occasion as bright as the oft-polished metal. Silver was likely assigned to this occasion because of its many-century-old status as an ultra desirable substance, and for its long history of multi-faceted use. Silver was particularly well appreciated in the so-called “Machine Age,” when pieces like this bracelet were never more in vogue. Stylish and sleek, expressing the streamlined aesthetic of the age, this silver bracelet, with its shimmering hammered surface and rich patina, is a signature piece of Després’ interwar work.
THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY: PEARL
The treasure of the sea, pearls represent the mature beauty that reveals itself from within a flowering union. In these antique earrings, rare natural saltwater pearls take center stage as a lustrous symbol of love. The glowing, velvety-white pearls, framed by scintillating old diamonds, hug near to the face, offering that unique pearl capacity to enhance the eyes and skin. Rare natural saltwater pearls, with their deep layers of nacre, reflect, interfere with, and scatter light, creating a soft but intense luminosity unlike any other gem.
THIRTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY: CORAL
Prized for its healing properties, coral is the gift to be given for a 35th wedding anniversary. Just as love can heal and transform, so too can coral self repair and transmute the crude landscape of the ocean floor. This remarkable bracelet by Henry Dunay features pillows of perfectly matched coral, as well as a romantic secret! The piece offers the wearer a hidden message of love on the bracelet’s interior. The gold backing of each coral tablet features four heart-shaped cut-outs, decorating the inside of the gem with coral-colored hearts.
FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY: RUBY
There’s red, and then there’s ruby red, and there’s the red of a no-heat Burmese ruby, like the one featured in this perfect Deco halo ring. The gift for a 40th anniversary is ruby, but the perfect gift for a 40th anniversary is nothing less than a ruby of this caliber, in an Art Deco setting of this beauty. Burma has been the ruby origin most prized for centuries by global connoisseurs. Rare Burma rubies’ exceptional red fluorescence comes from their formation under very particular geologic conditions, in white limestone that is ultra-low in iron content.
FORTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY: SAPPHIRE
To the ancient and medieval world, sapphire of heavenly blue signified the height of celestial hope and faith. In regards to marriage, it is perhaps more appreciated as a symbol of power and strength, but also of kindness and wise judgment. Even better than a perfect sapphire is a tessellation of perfect blue sapphires bound by dazzling colorless diamonds set in platinum, as they can be found in these arresting day-night earrings by Cartier.
FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY: GOLD
Known as the “Golden Anniversary,” 50 years together could only be honored by something as reliably desirable and luxe as gold. Dating back to the Victorian Era, a time when nearly all jewelry was regarded as a romantic token, this intricate, textured gold chain can be seen to represent many fruitful years alongside one another.