Few anniversaries are currently based on elements.
a cursory glance, they would appear to include only
gold, carbon (diamond), iron, tin, copper, aluminium,
platinum and nickel. It would also be possible to stretch
the list a little by considering elements in compounds,
or mixtures, so salt could become sodium. There
also several incompatible lists.
The entire periodic table should be used instead. If
talking about wedding anniversaries, that's one heck of a
long list even if we only get to uranium, and it would be
sensible to stop fairly soon after that due to the highly
radioactive and unstable nature of the substances
concerned, unless one is to regard that as the end of the
marriage through death, which does make some kind of
sense if it's done in order of atomic number.
Consequently, "anniversaries" should occur more than
a year. It's also unfeasible to do them in order because
diamond has an atomic number of six whereas iron, the
sixth anniversary, is number twenty-six. Instead of doing
that, I suggest beginning with what's currently on a list
choosing, so far as possible, elements significant in the
Firstly, paper is hydrogen. Tritium EXIT-type sign with
"ENTRANCE" on it, since at that stage you will probably
be entranced, plus it's the entrance to a new
Secondly, cotton is oxygen. Scuba-diving equipment or
possibly welding equipment.
Thirdly, leather is nitrogen (in the protein making up
leather). Flowers dipped in liquid nitrogen or maybe
high explosive should do it.
Fourthly, silk is sulphur.
Fifthly, there is an issue because every significant
in wood has already been used. I suggest phosphorus.
Sixthly, iron - the first time something can be left alone.
Eighthly, salt is sodium.
Ninthly, we have copper again so that needs replacing. I
suggest aluminium because the tenth anniversary is
sometimes considered aluminium.
Tenthly, we have tin.
Eleventhly, chromium seems to be a fit substitute for
since stainless steel is high in it.
Twelfthly, selenium can be used to replace silk as it's
used before and selenium is "eka-sulphur".
Thirteenthly, and this is a bit of a stretch, lace can be
replaced by chlorine, because there are two types of
with lace in their names, one of which seems similar to
sodalite, which contains chlorine.
Fourteenthly, ivory can be fluorine because of the use of
fluorine on teeth.
Fifteenthly, crystal, which probably refers to a kind of
glass, can be silicon.
Sixteenthly, there is the start of a hiatus but the
on Wikipedia is to give silver holloware as a gift. In
to find a novel element here, it probably makes sense to
use antimony because it's a significant metal in some
of silver plate.
Seventeenthly, and this too is a stretch, furniture can
become manganese because wrought iron is sometimes
used to make furniture and that sometimes contains that
Eighteenthly, I suggest replacing the white porcelain
suggested on the same list with titanium, since it's in
titanium dioxide, a startlingly white compound used to
Nineteenthly, thank you for reading this far and I suggest
arsenic, a component of some bronzes. This would
the opportunity for a suicide pact or murder, which
be appropriate for some marriages.
Twentiethly, platinum is one suggestion so just leave it
Twenty-secondly, well, copper's already been done but
is next to it and pretty common, so why not just use
Twenty-thirdly, following that principle cadmium is the
next one along from silver, this one being silver plate.
Twenty-fourthly, the next one is silver so let's use the
before silver, which is palladium.
Twenty-fifthly, we have silver itself of course.
Twenty-sixthly, we have another gap, so I'm just going to
start work my way across the post-transition row, having
already used cadmium, and say indium.
Twenty-seventhly, tellurium, tin and antimony having
already been used.
Twenty-ninthly, xenon. I quite like this idea because it's
Thirtiethly, calcium, since it's traditionally pearl, which
Thirty-firstly, there's another gap, so I shall now start
working across the first row of the transition metals and
Thirty-secondly, titanium has already been used so
vanadium is the next one.
Thirty-thirdly, cobalt is the next unused element.
Thirty-fourthly, rubidium is the one before strontium.
Thirty-fifthly, there is traditionally coral or jade. I
to go for strontium because it burns with a coral flame.
Thirty-sixthly, here we are again with a bit of space so
going to say yttrium.
Thirty-seventhly, I finally get to use zirconium, which I
considered for crystal because of the use of cubic
to replace diamond, but what the heck, I'll just stick it
Thirty-eighthly, niobium seems about right here. Who,
after all, hasn't felt that the number thirty-eight has a
of niobic quality from time to time?
Thirty-ninthly, molybdenum seems to be the obvious
Fortiethly, we would have ruby except that that is red
to chromium, so instead I am going to suggest mercury
because of its presence in the red mineral cinnabar. This
is really contrived of course.
For the forty-first to the forty-ninth, the nine elements
before gold, skipping platinum, seem appropriate, so
are thulium, ytterbium, lutetium, hafnium, tantalum,
tungsten, rhenium, osmium and iridium. I've been
neglecting the rare earths, so it's quite a relief to use
at last, if only three of them.
Following on from gold but skipping mercury, fifty-one
fifty-two can be thallium and lead. It's a bit peculiar
lead isn't already in there somewhere in fact.
Since the fifty-fifth is emerald, which contains
meaning it can be that, numbers fifty-three and fifty-
can be helium and lithium.
The fifty-sixth can be neon, because it's nearby and gets
me for once to coordinate the atomic numbers with the
next two, lanthanum the fifty-seventh and cerium the
Approaching diamond, which is carbon, the fifty-ninth
The sixtieth is carbon, which could save a lot of money
since it could just be a piece of graphite or coal instead
a real diamond.
After that it all seems to get a bit vague, so I don't know
about the rest. However, rather than just continuing to
them in above sixty, I would prefer only to go up to
Americium at number ninety-five, leaving another thirty-
five to be peppered through the sixty-year period
every year and a half or so. I am particularly keen on
uranium - uranium glass gifts seem quite groovy -
plutonium - give your partner a nuclear warhead for that
anniversary to use in arguments, or maybe a nuclear
power station - and
americium - smoke detector.