A ruby or something ruby-colored is an appropriate gift to give for a 40th wedding anniversary. The ruby is both the traditional gift and the modern gift for a 40th anniversary.
Giving specific anniversary gifts dependent upon the number of years of marriage is a tradition that is believed to date back to the Middle Ages. The gifts were likely believed to bring luck. Today, gifts increase in value as the number of years accrues, reflecting the growing commitment the couple has to each other. The origin of the traditional list of gifts is unknown; however, it is believed to have originated during the Victorian Era.
In the United States, the gifts range from paper for the first year of marriage to diamonds for the 60th. There are gifts associated with each of the first 20 years of marriage and for every fifth year thereafter, except for the 55th anniversary. The most well-known gifts are silver for the 25th anniversary and gold for the 50th anniversary. In medieval times, the 25th and 50th were the only celebrated anniversaries.
The ruby symbolizes passion, love, prosperity and courage. It is the gem of royalty. According to legend, a ruby is hardened fire. It is believed to protect its wearer from danger.