What Are Silver Birthdays?

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Silver has long been valued as a precious metal used to make jewelry, candlesticks, currency and more.

Certain anniversaries and celebrations have acquired labels over the years that guide people towards an appropriate or traditional gift. Over the course of history, silver has come to be known as the classic gift for a 25th celebration. Silver birthdays are when either a man or woman turns 25 years old. Silver can be used to decorate or theme the birthday celebrations of a 25-year-old. Over the years, each year's anniversary is connected to some sort of object or theme, but silver for 25 is one of the oldest traditions.


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The tradition of silver on a 25th anniversary originated in medieval Germany. When a married couple lived to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their wedding, the wife was presented by her friends and neighbors with a silver wreath to congratulate the couple. The idea was that they should be rewarded for so many years of stability. This tradition is now observed for other anniversaries of 25 years, such as birthdays.



In 1937, the American National Retail Jewelers Association, now known as the Jewelers of America, created an official list associating every anniversary year up to the 15th year and then every fifth year afterwards with some item, be it wood, gold or diamonds. Today this is still typically specific to wedding anniversaries; however, modern day interpretations have used it for birthday anniversaries as well. Knowing the list's origins with the Jewelers Association, it is no surprise that many gifts focus around jewelry, precious stones and metals.



In 1922, Emily Post wrote about the tradition of giving silver on 25th anniversaries in her book, "Etiquette." This book detailed what was socially appropriate in both the United States and the United Kingdom when it came to social events. She suggested smaller, intimate gatherings were appropriate for 25 year celebrations, and that 25 is a serious anniversary, when gift givers should bring presents made of silver. As Mark Twain once said, "Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century." The same importance comes with completing a quarter century of life on one's 25th birthday.


Modern-day Celebrations

Metallic food coloring is available at most bakeries, party-planning stores or craft stores. A cake or cupcakes with silver icing, silver writing and silver edible decoration is perfect for a 25th birthday with 25 silver candles. Invitations can be sent out in silver ink or with a simple silver border. Silver balloons and streamers can be used to decorate. Guests can still bring silver-themed gifts, such as jewelry, cufflinks or candlestick holders, as this is a tradition that has withstood the test of time.