Why Is Wax The 16Th Anniversary Gift?

The tradition of giving anniversary gifts based on the number of years married dates back centuries. According to folklore, different materials were assigned to each year in a sequence because it was believed they symbolized qualities the marriage would need as it progressed.

Origins of Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Wedding anniversary traditions originates in medieval Germany, where husbands would gift symbolic gifts to their wives to commemorate landmark anniversaries. These gifts were meant to represent important values and attributes that sustained the couple’s marriage for so many years. For example, paper was gifted on the 1st anniversary because it was a fragile yet versatile material, representing the newness and flexibility of a couple in their first year of marriage. Other materials like copper, iron and tin were gifts for subsequent years since they were strong, durable metals that symbolized a strengthening marriage. Eventually each anniversary up to the first 20 years became associated with a particular material or gift.

Medieval Germans believed these symbolic gifts would bestow their marriage with the same virtues and qualities that the material represented. The 12th year’s linen gift reflected the refined comfort and intimacy a marriage would develop by then, and the 13th year’s lace celebrated the delicate yet intricate beauty of a long term partnership. The overall theme was to highlight the couple’s progression over time, with gifts advancing in quality or sturdiness according to the longevity of the marriage.

Symbolic Meaning of Materials

Wedding anniversary gifts often carry symbolic meaning related to the durability and quality of various materials. After one year, paper symbolizes the frailty of a new marriage, while sturdier materials like tin, wood, crystal and diamond represent a marriage’s ability to survive challenges over time.

Metals such as silver and gold similarly represent the strength and beauty of a long-lasting marriage: silver celebrates a 25th wedding anniversary, while gold marks a milestone of 50 years spent together. These metals signify how a marriage can become refined through shared experiences.

Wax as the 16th Anniversary Gift

Wax was chosen to represent the 16th wedding anniversary due to being both malleable and durable. Wax can be molded into various shapes or softened to seal letters and preserve memories.

As a gift for a 16th anniversary, wax symbolizes flexibility and the ability to adapt to changes that come after over a decade and a half of marriage. Just as wax can transform from solid to liquid and back again, the bonds between spouses grow and evolve over time. Gifts made of wax represent the partners’ shared experiences that have allowed their relationship to continue taking new shape.

Uses of Beeswax

As one of the key substances produced by honey bees, beeswax has served humans across history in a variety of ways. Two of the most common modern uses of beeswax are:


Beeswax is the main component of many candles. Its comparatively high melting point makes beeswax superior to other waxes for candle-making. Beeswax burns brighter and cleaner than petroleum-derived waxes and paraffin. The honey scent produced while burning is also pleasing to many.

Beauty Products

Beeswax is a common ingredient in natural cosmetics and skin care products like lip balm and moisturizer. It forms a protective barrier that seals in moisture while allowing skin to breathe. The vitamin A in beeswax also helps soften and rehydrate dry skin.

Crafting with Wax

Wax is an incredibly versatile material for arts and crafts. Two popular crafts that make use of beeswax are candle making and stamping wax seals.

Wax is the base material for making candles. Hand molding candles is an enjoyable activity for crafters of all ages. Candle wicks can be embedded into molten wax of different colors and fragrances before being shaped into unique designs. Additives such as dried flowers or glitter can be sprinkled into the wax while it cools to create eye-catching effects.

Wax seals also make for an elegant, antique touch on letters and invitations. A stamp or signet ring is heated over a candle flame before being pressed into a stick of wax to create an impression. These iconic seals can then be dripped over envelopes or documents. Wax seals bring an extra flourish of style, especially when gifted handwritten letters or used on wedding invitations and vows.

Unique Wax Gifts

There are many creative ways to give wax as a 16th anniversary gift:

Engraved Seals

Engraved seals (or signet rings) made of wax are a beautiful way to deliver a customized gift. The name or initials of the couple can be engraved into the seal, making for a highly sentimental gift that represents their bond and identity as a married pair. The seal can be gifted alone, or with a signet ring, wax and ribbon so that the couple can make their own wax seals to decorate anniversary cards and letters to each other.

Luxury Candles

Luxury beeswax candles from brands like Cire Trudon, Diptyque and Voluspa make lovely anniversary gifts, presenting wax both decoratively and symbolically. Opt for fragrances like jasmine, peach blossom or sandalwood for romance. The enduring, gentle glow of a beeswax candle nicely parallels the continuing flame of marital love.

Wax in Art

Wax has been an important component of art for centuries. Artists have harnessed the unique properties and aesthetics of wax to create stunning sculptures and paintings.

For sculptors, wax is prized for its malleability, allowing artisans to shape, mold, and craft with great detail. Lost-wax casting dates back thousands of years, with ancient cultures using the technique to make jewelry, masks, and more. Today, sculptors like Lorie Novak and Urs Fischer carry on the tradition of wax sculpting for innovative 3D artworks.

Preserving Memories

Wax has been used for centuries to preserve and mark memories. Sealing letters with wax signets or seals marked important correspondence. Wax seals today still retain an air of nostalgia. Candles serve as mementos of special dinners or events. Burning candles mark happy occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and more. The wax drippings from those candles encapsulate memories in physical form.

Pouring wax over objects to preserve them or encase them is another long-held practice. Scientists cover plant and animal samples in wax to maintain details. Enthusiasts encapsulate meaningful trinkets or keepsakes in lucite blocks. The luminescent glow of wax highlights these preserved artifacts and ties them to special remembrances.

Wax’s ability to preserve while still showcasing the beauty within makes it a special medium for maintaining memories.

Wax a Creative, Symbolic 16th Anniversary Gift

To conclude, the symbolism and versatility of wax make it an ideal 16th wedding anniversary gift.
Wax’s pliability, creative potential, and its role in preserving memories align with the themes associated with a mature 16-year marriage.
Just as two lives intertwine over 16 years, wax is endlessly shapeable to commemorate this important milestone.
Unique, personalized wax gifts evoke the joy and wisdom shared by a lasting partnership.

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