Yes, the 40th wedding anniversary is traditionally known as the ruby anniversary. This milestone carries important symbolic meaning and provides couples with a beautiful way to celebrate their commitment after four decades together. But why are rubies associated with the 40th anniversary and how can you make the most of this special occasion? Let‘s explore the origins of the ruby anniversary tradition, the attributes of rubies that make them a fitting 40th anniversary gemstone, unique ways to honor the milestone, and advice for sustaining a marriage that spans 40 years and beyond.
The History of Anniversary Gemstone Traditions
The custom of associating certain gemstones with wedding anniversary years first began in 1937. The American National Retail Jeweler Association established the original anniversary gemstone designation for key milestone years. While some variations in recommended anniversary gifts have emerged over the decades, the tradition of anniversary gemstones continues today.
Rubies were selected to represent 40 years of marriage due to their brilliant red color and hardness as a gemstone. Let‘s take a closer look at the origins and attributes of rubies that give them such symbolic meaning.
What Makes Rubies the Perfect 40th Anniversary Gemstone
The Significance of the Color Red
The vibrant red hue of rubies represents passion, enduring love, and commitment—fitting sentiments after 40 years of marriage.
Red holds cultural and symbolic importance in civilizations across the world. In China, red signifies good fortune and joy. In Hindu tradition, a deep red exemplifies married life. Ancient Burmese warriors possessed rubies to make them invincible in battle.
Across cultures and history, the color red retains its association with life, passion, and love.
The Durability and Longevity of Rubies
As the second hardest gemstone after diamonds, rubies are incredibly durable and resistant to scratching. They maintain their vibrant color and luster over time.
This supreme toughness and ability to withstand the test of time mirror a relationship staying strong through ups and downs after 40 years together. Just as rubies retain their beauty, an enduring marriage develops deeper bonds.
Origins and Mining Process
While small deposits have been found in other parts of the world, rubies predominantly originate from Myanmar, Southeast Asia, Africa, and India. They form through an intricate natural process over millions of years involving high heat and pressure.
Like rubies arising through remarkable environmental forces, strong marriages take effort, energy, and endurance to cultivate over decades. It takes continuous work and perseverance to form a lasting marriage that gleams through life‘s pressures.
Rarity and Value
Natural rubies of high quality are incredibly rare, especially larger carat weights. The supply of facetable rubies is very limited worldwide. This makes fine rubies extremely valuable.
Just as high-quality rubies are scarce, enduring 40-year marriages have become a rarity. With divorce rates around 50% and the average marriage lasting less than a decade, four decades of marriage is an impressive feat worthy of honor, just like a rare ruby gemstone.
Choosing the Perfect Ruby Jewelry Gift
Ruby jewelry, especially rings, makes a meaningful 40th anniversary present. But what should you look for in quality ruby pieces? Follow these tips when selecting ruby anniversary jewelry:
Natural vs. Synthetic – Opt for natural if budget allows, ensuring an appraisal certificate. Synthetic lab rubies have similar beauty at a lower cost.
Color – Look for a rich, vibrant red without brown or purple hues. The most coveted hue is called "pigeon‘s blood."
Clarity – Some tiny inclusions are expected, but best to avoid large visible flaws. Inclusions impact durability.
Cut – Well-cut rubies maximize the deep red "fire." Common cuts are oval, cushion, and round.
Carat – Larger carat weights are exponentially rarer and costlier. A 1 carat ruby makes a meaningful gift.
Settings – Prong or halo settings showcase rubies beautifully without detracting. White metals like platinum pair well.
Discuss custom design ideas with jewelers based on your budget and style preferences. Share that it‘s for a 40th anniversary to determine an appropriate ruby piece.
Unique Ruby Anniversary Gift Ideas
While ruby jewelry steals the show for 40th anniversary gifts, couples can also think more broadly. Here are some unique ruby anniversary gift ideas to suit different interests and budgets:
Ruby-themed getaway – Plan a trip revolving around rubies like visiting the Valley of Rubies in Myanmar or exploring ruby mines in Thailand. Select hotel packages featuring rubies.
Second honeymoon – Relive newlywed excitement by escaping just the two of you to Bali, Fiji or another romantic destination sans kids.
Anniversary cruise – Enjoy finer dining and entertainment on a week-long cruise in the Caribbean, Alaska or through Europe.
Adventure travel – Create exhilarating memories white water rafting, zip-lining through jungles, or photographing African wildlife safaris.
Gourmet ruby dinner – Hire a personal chef to prepare an elegant in-home dinner featuring ruby-colored foods and wines.
Ruby dessert tasting – Indulge in a tasting at a chocolatier of ruby truffles, red velvet cakes and macarons paired with moscato.
Edible rubies – Order novelty edible rubies made from candy crystals or dried fruit to adorn anniversary cakes.
Cocktail class – Mixologist teaches you to concoct ruby-red 40th anniversary themed cocktails like Ruby Slippers.
Ruby décor – Incorporate ruby accents into home décor like plush pillows, candles, flower arrangements, and gemstone art.
Ruby landscaping – Plant red blossom bushes and flowers in your garden like ruby rhododendrons, tulips, roses, or carnations.
Updated bedroom – Rejuvenate your shared personal space with a ruby color scheme – bedding, curtains, carpeting, wall paint.
Sentimental keepsakes – Frame milestone photos, customized art, and monogrammed ruby gifts to display.
Engraved iPad – Engrave a sentimental message on a new iPad with both your names and anniversary date. Load with your favorite playlists, movies and books.
Hot stone massager – Soothe sore muscles with a top-rated massage tool using heated ruby stones for tension relief.
Digital photo frame – Upload your favorite couple pics to be displayed on a WiFi-connected digital frame on your nightstand.
Smart jewelry – Fitness trackers disguised as elegant bracelets and watches to keep you motivated and on the move.
Making the Most of Your Milestone Anniversary
Achieving four decades of marriage calls for nostalgic celebration of your enduring love. Go beyond material ruby gifts to truly cherish this milestone.
Recreate Your First Date
Travel back in time to where your relationship began. Plan a visit to the location of your first date to relive fond memories. Dress up, enjoy the same activities and cuisine, and reminisce over how far your relationship has come. Exchange heartfelt gifts to cap off the night.
Renew Your Vows
Host an intimate vow renewal ceremony to reaffirm your commitment after 40 years together. Include close family and friends. Exchange new rings to symbolize entering your next chapter. Write personalized vows speaking to how your marriage has flourished over time. Dress up, pose for professional photos, dance, and dine on anniversary cake.
Get Away Together
Escape just the two of you to reconnect and focus only on each other without distractions. Plan a trip that incorporates destinations significant to your relationship history, and create new special memories. Enjoy lazy mornings, leisurely dinners, adventures, massage, and long conversations without interruption.
Throw an Anniversary Party
Celebrate hitting this huge milestone surrounded by loved ones. Send out formal invitations for an anniversary party and reception. Decorate with a "Ruby Anniversary" theme – red tablecloths, ruby centerpieces, custom menus. Display old wedding and family photos. Rent a band, DJ, or emcee. Serve anniversary cake and dance the night away!
Keys to an Enduring 40+ Year Marriage
What enables some couples to thrive for over 40 years while many marriages crumble before a decade? Here are research-backed tips for maintaining a healthy, satisfying union in the long run.
After decades together, a lack of intimacy can take its toll. Both emotional and sexual intimacy are essential. Set aside dedicated time for uninterrupted connection – cuddling, talking, or being romantic. Intimacy will ebb and flow, so openly communicate needs.
Research shows couples married over 40 years have sex an average of 2-3 times monthly. Don‘t let physical intimacy fade away.
Embrace Change Together
Life circumstances will change drastically over 40 years. Retirement, empty nesting, aging parents, health conditions will inevitably arise. The key is embracing change as a team. Compromise, empathize with each other‘s feelings, and continue strengthening your bond.
Research reveals the #1 reason long-term marriages thrive is adapting to change. Rely on each other through ups and downs.
Talk early, often, and honestly – especially about tough topics. Discuss feelings frequently, not just when problems reach critical mass. Listen without judgment. Compromise. Seek counseling if needed.
Studies emphasize open communication as integral to highly satisfying decades-long marriages.
Make regular quality time together a priority, while also maintaining your own interests. Take walks, travel, volunteer together. Find shared activities to remain engaged as a couple. Continue dating and expressing affection often.
After decades together, it‘s vital to focus on "we" not just "me" in order to preserve marital friendship and unity.
Attend to Finances
Money conflicts can quickly corrode marriages. Discuss financial priorities and boundaries openly. Seek alignment on budgeting, spending, saving and retirement goals. If needed, consult a financial advisor to help safeguard your future.
Research on enduring marriages reveals couples with aligned financial practices are more satisfied long-term.
Insights From Those Who Have Reached the Milestone
What wisdom do real couples married 40, 50 or 60+ years have to offer? Here are first-hand perspectives from those who have achieved decades-long marriages:
"We‘re proof that first love can last! Our journey hasn‘t always been easy, but our commitment never wavered. Humor and patience have helped us through all of life‘s ups and downs." – Larry and Jane, married 43 years
"Embrace change together – the good and bad. We‘ve tackled four moves, job changes, losing parents, and now health challenges. But we still cherish time talking, traveling and laughing at silly stuff." – Monica and Michael, married 47 years
"We chose each other again and again. Even when apart for long stretches, like during deployments, not a day went by without expressing our love." – Natalie and Harold, married 42 years
"The spark can dampen at times. Don‘t panic. Just reconnect. We schedule regular date nights, walks and weekend getaways for uninterrupted time to nurture our marriage." – Helen and Luis, married 49 years
Their insight provides inspiration and reminder that lifelong love, while rare, is possible with mutual care, effort and commitment to marriage as an enduring priority.
By the Numbers: Statistics on Long-Lasting Marriages
While 40+ year marriages are increasingly uncommon, they offer living proof that lifelong marital success is achievable:
Only around 5% of marriages reach the 40-year milestone, given the average marriage lasts under 10 years.
About 20% of married couples have celebrated 25 years together, showing more couples achieving longevity than previously.
Roughly 64% of couples make it to their 10th anniversary, but many don‘t progress beyond that major milestone.
Those who marry in their late 20s to early 30s have greater likelihood of achieving decades-long marriages.
Surveys show the more children a couple has, the more likely their marriage is to endure long-term.
Research indicates key predictors of marriages crossing 40+ years include: aligned finances, embracing change together, intimacy maintenance, and continual care and respect.
Star Couples Who Have Celebrated Their Ruby Anniversary
Even celebrities among us have attained the 40-year marriage feat. A few famous faces who have recently marked four decades of matrimony include:
Country music royalty Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. The iconic couple wed in 1996 and share over 25 years of marriage and three daughters.
Hollywood legend Samuel L. Jackson and actress LaTanya Richardson. Married since 1980, they are vocal about hard work and compromise being keys to their 40+ year marriage.
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. The famous rocker and talk show host have weathered many ups and downs since they wed in 1982. They credit humor and unconditional love in their unconventional 40-year union.
Bill and Camille Cosby. The famed comedian and his wife celebrated their 1964 union for over 50 years before Bill‘s conviction changed public perception of their marriage.
Retired NBA star Michael Jordan and wife Yvette Prieto. After his high-profile divorce, Jordan found love again with model Prieto, entering their decade of marriage in 2013.
Even the rich and famous can attest that lasting marriage takes effort and care. Their stories provide inspiration that lifelong commitment is possible.
An Anniversary to Cherish
What an amazing achievement it is to celebrate 40 years since saying "I do." The ruby anniversary provides the perfect occasion to honor such a meaningful milestone of marital endurance and everlasting love. Let the radiant ruby represent all the passion, laughter and devotion you share after spending nearly half a century living life together. Whether you mark the occasion with a spectacular vow renewal or simple romantic dinner, may this major anniversary remind you to continue cherishing each precious day you are blessed to share.