A whole 40 years of married life - this is certainly a milestone for the books.

When you consider all of life’s achievements (big and small alike) that you’ve shared, it kinda blows the mind.

And this is precisely why we celebrate anniversaries. This is your day to commemorate, as a couple, all of those wonderful moments that you’ve shared.

Without a doubt, we’re firm advocates of celebrating anniversaries every single year - no forgetting, no excuses. But, when it gets to a major milestone like this, the celebrations definitely need to go up a notch.

That’s why we’re so grateful to have anniversary themes at our disposal. These themes give us a handy starting point, from which we can search for a heartfelt, sentimental present to mark this most special of occasions.

To help you find a 40th wedding anniversary present that meets this brief, our experts have gathered their top tips to aid your gift search. Keep reading to find out more about the tradition of these themes, modern alternatives (should you prefer) and our top tips for finding a beautiful themed anniversary gift.

The history of 40 year wedding anniversaries - why ruby?

By buying a themed wedding anniversary gift, you’re actually becoming a part of a century-old tradition, which countless couples have shared in. Pretty cool, right?

The start of this tradition can be pinpointed to the creation of the first ‘official’ list of wedding anniversary themes. This was created in 1922, in the book Etiquette, written by the influential American writer Emily Post.

In it, she listed themes for the anniversaries 1, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25. These themes were based on the common themes that were used by couples in the Victorian period. And it was Post that created a set, universal list of themes for all couples to follow.

The theme for the 40th wedding anniversary was published a few years later, in 1937. This was when the American National Retail Jeweler Association updated Post’s original list, expanding it to include themes from the earlier years and the themes of every 5 years from the 25th anniversary to the 50th.

Traditional gift ideas for you 40th wedding anniversary

Rubies are absolutely dazzling. They are a stunning gemstone, which have been adored by couples for centuries.

Even if it wasn’t the theme for your anniversary, you’d still definitely be onto a winner with a ruby gift.

But, as you’ve probably already been thinking, this is certainly not a cheap gift. So, you want to make sure that you choose your gift wisely. It’s a whole lot more stressful choosing this year’s gift than it was finding a paper present for year 1…

To help you find the perfect ruby anniversary gift - that balances elegance and sentimentality perfectly - our experts have shared their favourite ideas for 40th wedding anniversary gifts:

  • Ruby jewellery. This could be:
  • Earrings
  • Necklace
  • Bracelet
  • Brooch
  • Ring
  • Cufflinks
    • A bouquet of ruby red roses
    • An ornamental ruby anniversary tree
    • Ruby commemorative coins
    • A commemorative plate
    • Red garden sculptures - for example, painted metal poppies
    • Laser cut paper cards or commemorative artwork to frame
    • A red photo album, filled with photographs

    Where did modern wedding gift themes come from?

    This year, the modern theme is a little bit of a curveball - for the 40th wedding anniversary, the modern theme is also ruby.

    To be fair, a ruby would definitely take some beating…

    The list of modern wedding gift themes was created as a modern revamp of the original, traditional list. It features gifts that are more relevant and readily available in the 21st century.

    That way, couples get to choose between the two themes, and buy a gift that means something to them.

    In the case of ruby, however, this gemstone has remained just as popular today as it was 100 years ago. As a result, it has retained its position as the 40th wedding anniversary theme for both the modern and traditional lists.

    As you search for your ruby wedding anniversary gift, bear our experts’ top tips in mind. This way, you’ll be better placed to put your own, personal spin on this universal gift theme.

    Our 5 top tips for choosing the perfect modern 40th anniversary gift:

    1. Enlist the help of talented artisan jewellery makers. If you want to choose a piece of ruby jewellery, work with an artisan jeweller or gift creator. Explore their collections and designs, and find a creator with a style that really speaks to you.
    2. Ask about personalisations. Some stores and jewellery makers will offer personalisation or engraving services (for free!). So, see whether they can add a custom touch to your item.
    3. Choose a design that matches your partner’s unique sense of style. Look for a design that feels like it was made for them, their style or your home.
    4. High street chains should be a last resort. There’s an immense number of talented independent artisans, jewellery makers and craftsmen, and buying your gift from these creators will ensure it is a complete one of a kind.
    5. Remember, you don’t have to buy actual rubies. If you don’t think your partner would be interested in jewellery, then you could put your own spin on the theme. See the list we created above for ideas.

    Simply thinking of this in sheer numerical terms is pretty staggering. But then, it becomes even more so when you think about all the countless memories, events, laughs, conversations and happy moments, hand in hand.

    So, even though you may not be as soppy as you were when you first got together, seize this opportunity to show your other half just how much they mean to you. With a beautiful ruby wedding anniversary present, which has been chosen specifically for them, you can really make this day an occasion to remember.