The process of selecting and/or designing a headstone can involve a lot of decisions…
Should I choose a headstone and base or go with a full monument?
What type of stone should the headstone be made of?
What font should I pick for the tombstone inscription?
Whether you’re choosing a headstone or monument for the first time or you’ve travelled this path before, the various steps of the process can get a little confusing.
To make things easier, this Guide will take you through each of the decisions you’ll need to make in selecting the style and design of a headstone or monument, with explanations and illustrations of each of your options.
Keep reading to learn more about:
In our Complete Guide to Headstones and Monuments in Australia, we discuss some important criteria you should keep in mind when choosing the type of monument you’d like to use to mark your loved one’s grave. These considerations, together with personal preferences, will help you determine whether you’d like to purchase a headstone or a full monument. As a quick reminder:
The main types of headstone are:
A full monument can be a:
Before you can decide on important style elements such as the shape of the tombstone, and the finish of the rock, you will need to select the type of stone that the monument will be made of. Generally, headstones and monuments can be made of sandstone, limestone, marble, concrete, slate, bronze and – most commonly – granite.
Subject to your budget, and to the requirements of the cemetery section in which the monument will be installed, many monumental masons will recommend choosing a granite headstone or monument because:
To make the most of these features, be sure to invest in a good quality granite.
While granite can at times be more expensive than alternative options, it’s important to remember that stones that are not durable will erode and become damaged over a shorter period of time, and may very well require additional expenditure for repairs.
Headstone design includes the shape and finish of a gravestone.
Walking through a cemetery, you will notice that headstones come in an endless selection of shapes; some are more traditional, while others are entirely bespoke.
The following are some of the more common headstone designs:
Half ogee-shaped headstone
The finish of the headstone refers to the way the stone appears. A headstone can be finished in the following ways:
Polished finish – smooth and shiny; best for showing off granite; highly reflective.
Part-polished finish – smooth and shiny on inscription and base area; emphasises the inscription.
Pitched (or rock pitch) finish – stone is hand chiseled; rough and natural; often used on edges.
Sawn (or honed) finish – stone is smooth but unpolished; often used for sides of headstone; possibility of the appearance of lines from the blade.
The design of a full monument includes the kerbing and covering of the full monument.
Kerbing is the stone border or ‘curb’ around the burial plot. When choosing kerbing you will need to decide on style and type of stone.
To cover the remainder of the burial site (that is, the space within the kerbing), you can select a ledger slab in a stone matching the kerbing or, alternatively, you can cover the gravesite with granite chips.
You will need to think about the inscription that will appear on the headstone. This involves drafting the wording and deciding on the style of the inscription.
To learn more about inscriptions, including engraving options, see our Complete Guide to Headstone and Monument Inscriptions. And for information on adding an additional inscription to an existing headstone, see our Guide to Headstone Inscription Services.
Once you’ve decided on the various design and style elements of your headstone or monument, you’ll want to get an idea of how much that combination costs. You can use Gathered Here to determine the cost of the headstone or monument. Just select your chosen design features from the list of options and we’ll send you 3 price quotes from local headstone and monument masons. It’s quick, easy, and there’s no obligation for you to purchase. Request your quotes now.
To learn more about the cost of headstones and monuments, see Memorial Prices Explained.
We hope you’ve found this Guide to Headstones and Monument Style and Design useful. For more information about buying a memorial, visit our Headstones, Monuments and Memorials FAQs.
If you have any questions about our headstone and monument quote service, or our monumental mason comparison service, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or start a live chat by clicking the floating message box in the bottom right corner of your screen.
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