Choosing a Material For Your Headstone

Headstones today come in a variety of materials and when choosing what to use for your loved one’s memorial a number of factors need to be taken into account.

Granite is a popular choice of material due to it being such a hard material, it is available in a wide range of colours and can be polished, honed or pitched. It is also far easier to source nowadays, bringing costs down for masons meaning those savings can be passed on to you. Cemeteries are usually flexible in the types of material allowed when it comes to headstoGrey Granite everton shield shaped grave stonenes, some Churchyards may not allow it. Granite is very durable it is easy for a family to maintain and it will look good for years to come. The lettering over time will require some maintenance if it has been gilded or coloured, but this can easily be done in the cemetery by an experienced mason.

Marble headstones are white with grey veins and are unpolished. Cemeteries and most Churchyards allow marble memorials. Marble is a crystalised limestone so it is a porous material, overtime the marble will discolour if not maintained, a family can maintain a marble gravestone with a masons advice. Alternatively the family may ask a mason to periodically clean and refurbish the memorial to keep it looking in excellent condition. Traditionally a marble headstone will have a cut and leaded letter, a technique we still use at Sarsfield Memorials. Some masons will cut and paint the lettering, but this will wear away very quickly so it is an ongoing cost to have the lettering painted.

White Marble Heart

Other materials allowed in Cemeteries and Churchyards are Nabresina, Portland Stone, Yorkstone and Slate. These materials are not as popular in the Merseyside area as they are in other areas of the country. If you would like a traditional style gravestone then these materials are the most suitable.

Although marble and stone are more prone to the elements than granite, that should not mean you eliminate them completely when making your headstone choice. With the correct care and attention, they are made to last. If the wrong materials are used for cleaning memorials then you can contaminate the stone and can damage your headstone beyond repair. It is always advisable to ask your experienced mason how to maintain your gravestone.

At Sarsfield’s we have samples of all of the stones mentioned, allowing you to look and handle the material to see which you prefer. You can also see photographs of our work which we have completed, with these options available and our knowledge we hope we can help you make the right decision when choosing a gravestone. Please contact us for a free no obligation quotation.

Floral Ornamentation on Gravestones

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 rcow parsleyestoration 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.