Anniversary gifts have a tradition that some newlyweds may not have been aware of prior to becoming a spouse. This tradition assigns certain gems and materials to each year as ideal representation gifts for each year of marriage. How can you follow this timeless tradition with modern jewelry? Here are four tips.

1. Learn Traditional and Modern Options

Each anniversary has several choices for materials. The most traditional can be the hardest to work with — often things like paper, wood, or steel — and rise in value over the years. Modern variations offer alternatives, such as lace items rather than traditional bronze or pottery for the eighth year. If you are really stuck for ways to use that year's materials, look for inspiration from the color for that anniversary instead. 

2. Use Jewelry for Milestones

If you have the budget to buy your spouse a fantastic gemstone anniversary ring every year, you can hardly go wrong. But many couples don't have that kind of cash, and it could result in no particular ring getting the attention it deserves. Instead, many couples choose to use other materials (such as leather for the third anniversary) for 'normal' anniversaries and save the gems for milestone ones — 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, and so on. 

3. Marry the Ideas

When you design jewelry for a big anniversary, look for ways to incorporate both a more traditional element into the jewelry along with the milestone gem. For example, the traditional material for the fifth anniversary is wood and the gemstone is sapphire. You might create a wood-like effect with the band or use a floral theme, then add a beautiful sapphire teardrop to complement it. 

4. Branch Out From Rings

Traditionally, milestone anniversary jewelry gifts are rings. But not every person enjoys wearing a lot of rings. And your budget may not allow for custom rings all the time. Don't be afraid, then, to mix it up when picking out a jewelry piece. You might give a ring one year, a necklace another year, earrings a third year, and an anklet in another, for instance. 

Anniversary gifts like these can become a fun tradition in your marriage. While some things (like willow or ivory) may take some additional creativity to reproduce in a modern environment, this process adds value to your gift. Want more ideas for any particular year of your relationship? Start by consulting with an employee at a designer jewelry store in your area today.