There are several lists that indicate with what symbol the various years of marriage are marked. While the traditional lists are quite similar, there are some minor changes between countries. In the United States, for example, the first wedding anniversary is marked with paper, but in the United Kingdom it is traditionally marked with cotton. The great anniversaries, however, remain consistent. Therefore, the 25th wedding anniversary by tradition demands silver gifts.

It is believed that marking wedding anniversaries with specific gifts has its origins in medieval Germany. To survive 25 years of marriage was no small thing in an era of limited medical knowledge, plague outbreaks and frequent wars, particularly in the Germanic areas of Europe where battles for territory and between the nobles and the papacy followed one another throughout of the centuries. A silver crown was presented to the wife by her neighbors on their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, congratulating the couple for the good fortune that had allowed them to live together for so long. If a couple reaches 50 years of marriage, then they would be given a golden crown. It is from this tradition that specific gifts grew to mark the years.

Most silver is produced as a by-product of the refining of other metals. It is found as an alloy with gold, copper, lead and zinc, in minerals such as argentite and chlorargirite, and also in pure form by itself. The electrum of gold and silver alloy was already used in 700 a. C. by the Lydians in the eastern parts of what is now Turkey. Sterling silver, generally used in jewelry and silverware, is an alloy of silver and copper, and almost all gold alloys in colored carats include silver.

So what could you do to mark a milestone in a marriage?

1) The gift.

Something in silver, or even silver, is what you would expect. For women, some form of jewelry, perhaps a ring, although the eternity ring is traditionally precious gems set in gold. A set of necklace and earrings is another possibility, or perhaps a brooch made of silver. For men, a ring would also work, maybe a signet ring. Alternatively, sterling silver cufflinks are a traditional gift, although if the man in question does not have adequate shirts, they may not be of great practical use. A hip flask can also be appreciated.

To give a couple a gift, a silver picture frame is a popular idea, although there is a risk that most of their friends do the same. Personalize it, if you can, with a favorite image of the happy couple, perhaps with friends or other family members. Alternatively, go a little further and find a silver-colored photo album and fill it with images of their lives together. Perhaps a more decorative element, such as a small silver tray engraved with the date of the wedding and the names of the couple, a silver car clock or a candelabra could be the best.

2) The celebration

Because 25 years is such an important milestone, in recent years the renewal of marriage vows has become a popular way to celebrate the occasion. Although it is unlikely to be on the same scale as the original wedding, it is a way to gather friends and family to witness the couple’s enduring connection with the solemnity of the ceremony and to celebrate with a party.

The decorations to renew the vows tend to be very similar to those of a wedding. A woman may wish to bring a recreation of her wedding bouquet, but as an alternative, the iris is the flower that represents the twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. The sugary almonds of silver, tied in silver organza and tied with a silver ribbon, would make elegant favors to the party. And what better excuse for a truly spectacular meal, with silver service?

3) The holidays

Although it is by no means mandatory, a historic wedding anniversary seems like a good excuse for a second honeymoon. Some couples choose to return to the place they visited on their honeymoon, seeing the ways in which both they and they have changed over the past 25 years. Others may have had a place they always dreamed of going to and so go to the vacation of their life. If you want to keep a silver theme, there are several possibilities.

Taxco in Mexico was the silver capital of the country. There were several mines in the area, and today there are still many workshops in the city where it is possible to collect an appropriate souvenir. Combine the visit with time in Mexico City and also the Mayan sites in the Yucatan Peninsula.

South America, particularly the countries of the Pacific coast, was the source of the silver that financed the growth of the Spanish Empire in the sixteenth century. Peru could be the ideal place for a vacation of a lifetime. It has spectacular variations in the landscape, from the Andean mountains and coastal deserts to the Amazon rainforest. It was also home to some of the oldest civilizations, from the Norte Chico to the Incas, with the spectacular citadel of Machu Picchu.

Half a world away, Queensland in Australia is also home to silver mines. Known as the state of the sun, Queensland is another perfect destination. It has the tropical forests of Gondwana, the Whitsunday Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, the Costa Dorada and the cities of Brisbane and Cairns.

As a couple decides to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary, 25 years of marriage is a truly special milestone in their lives. It’s a significant achievement: choose something really meaningful to honor it.