Historically any ornamentation added to gravestones has been predominantly religious in nature. Although such symbols have not disappeared today and remain popular, especially among the Catholic faith, floral ornamentation has also become a common sight on new headstones.
One form of floral ornamentation that can be seen on older graves is ivy, which indicates affection, fidelity and everlasting life. Other symbols of immortality include evergreens, figs and yews.
Nowadays roses are a common form of ornamentation on headstones, symbolising beauty, hope and unfailing love. The stage of the rose’s development indicates how old the person was at the time of death. A bud will be used for somebody aged under twelve, a partial bloom represents a teenager and a full bloom shows that somebody has died in the prime of their life.
Lilies are another flower that are often added in ornamental form to gravestones today, usually on those of women. They signify purity and innocence and there use at death reflects the restoration of the soul to its previous innocence.
Trees on gravestones represent the love of Christ and tree of life. Like with roses, the development of the tree coincides with the age of the person on whose headstone the ornament has been placed. Sprouting trees indicate everlasting life but stumps or trunks are usually used to signify that the person whose headstone they are on has died too young.
Younger persons headstones may also be decorated by a broken branch or bud, which indicates that they departed life too soon. It is also common to see daffodils and daisies on youngsters graves, these flowers representing purity of thought.
People who have had a long life may also have their gravestones decorated by wheat, reflecting resurrection and harvesting into a new life. Flowers that are generally mournful include cypress tress, said to be what Christ’s cross was made of, as well as willows and yew trees.
Sarsfield Memorials are able to provide a wide range of gravestone ornamentation and the examples given here are not exhaustive. We are able to provide just about anything you wish, the most unusual design we have been asked to do being cow parsley. Another well known name for this plant is mother dies, the design having been carved into the slate headstone. Please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.