Your Options When You're Ready To Purchase A Headstone For Your Loved One's Grave

One of the final acts of love you will do for your deceased loved one is to erect a gravestone to mark their passing. It becomes a lasting monument to their life that you and your family will visit. It will be seen by others visiting the cemetery who will know that someone cared enough to put up the memorial. When it's time to make the choice of the appropriate headstone, here are the options you will have.

Understand the Cemetery's Limitations

Each cemetery has regulations regarding the type of gravestones that are allowed. These rules will cover such areas as:

  • what materials the memorial can be made of
  • the minimum and maximum sizes allowed
  • the shapes and styles allowed
  • requirements for the base on which the memorial must rest

With these regulations in hand, you can begin your search for the perfect memorial.

Material Options

Marble - This has been the traditional material used for headstones for years. This stone comes in a variety of colors and is easy to carve into shapes and engrave. It can be left with a matte finish or polished to a high gloss. Marble can be damaged by the weather, and over a period of decades, the inscriptions on the stone can become difficult to read.

Granite - This stone has become popular due to its resistance to weather damage. Like marble, it is easy to carve into shapes and engrave. It is available in a number of earth-tone colors and can be left natural or polished.

Bronze - This is one of the most popular metal headstones. It is created by molding hot metal into the desired shape. Because of this, you'll find bronze memorials in shapes that are difficult to do in stone. Your inscriptions are etched into the metal. The memorial is polished to a high gloss. It can become tarnished over time and will need to be buffed out periodically to bring out the shine when it begins to look dull.

Glass - This is another material that can be molded into a variety of shapes. Dyes can be added to color the glass. Your inscriptions are etched onto the surface.

Headstone Shapes

Slab - This is a square or rectangular marker that is placed flat on the ground. The inscription is on the face of the marker, which must be viewed while looking down at it. Various accessories can be placed on the slab, such as a photo of your loved one or a vase for flowers.

Upright Square or Rectangle - This shape sits up on a base so it can be seen from all sides. You can have inscriptions on both sides that can be viewed from far away in the cemetery. The engraved surfaces are often polished while the edges are left natural.

Wedge - This memorial sits upright like the above marker, but the stone is wider at the bottom than at the top. This provides extra protection against the memorial being toppled over accidentally or through an act of vandalism. This marker can also be inscribed on both sides.

While these are the traditional shapes found in headstones, you'll find a number of additional shapes from which to choose, such as:

  • Circles, ovals and heart-shapes that sit upright
  • Cylinders that rest horizontally on their base

Shapes can also be combined into unique memorials, such as a square upright stone with smaller heart-shaped stones on either side. To learn more about your options, work with a company like Louis Monti & Sons Inc Monument Works.