Anniversary Ring Etiquette

Couple looking at ring on woman's hand, smiling

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Anniversary rings have been steadily growing in popularity as traditional anniversary gifts, such as paper and wood, are replaced with more modern alternatives. These rings can complement your existing bridal ring set or replace it altogether. Anniversary rings also offer women with more traditional engagement and wedding rings a chance to wear something more modern, flashy and colorful. There are no hard and fast etiquette rules when it comes to choosing, giving or wearing an anniversary ring, so the decisions are largely a matter of personal preference.

When to Give

There are no rules about when you can and can't give an anniversary ring, but there are some times that are more popular than others. For example, rings are typically given for milestones, such as 10- and 25-year anniversaries. The rings may be replacements for smaller engagement sets or they may serve as stand-alone gifts representing eternity, renewed commitment or simply love.

Stone and Setting

The traditional engagement ring consists of the diamond solitaire. It may or may not also contain accent stones. Anniversary rings can stray from tradition. These rings can feature multiple stones in modern or artistic settings and in a variety of colors. One popular style consists of three stones representing the past, the present and the future. Another popular style, the eternity ring, features gems or precious metals that form a continuous loop of the eternity symbol. Anything goes.

How to Wear

There are three popular ways to wear an anniversary ring. The first is to wear it with the wedding band and engagement ring. The second is to wear it instead of the engagement ring. Those who like their engagement rings and wedding bands just as they are can opt to wear the anniversary ring on the right hand instead. You can interchange these looks as you see fit.

Stone Guidelines

Those with a traditional streak can follow the traditional anniversary gifts guide when choosing a stone. According to modern tradition, you give onyx for the 10th anniversary. The 15th anniversary calls for crystal, as in a watch. The 20th is a time for platinum jewelry, while the 30th is a time for diamonds. Those following the older traditional anniversary gift list would give diamonds for the 10th anniversary, rubies for the 15th, emeralds for the 20th and pearls for the 30th.

For Men

Men don't typically receive anniversary gifts, but those who do usually receive band-style rings that they wear in place of the wedding band. Like women, men have flexibility in deciding what kind of ring they like and how to wear it. A man can also wear his ring on the ring finger of his left hand.