Now that we have learned about the numerous options for monument and marker styles, we can further our knowledge and learn about monument sizes and materials.
As you work through the process of designing your monument, size will be an important factor. First and foremost, you should consult your monument professional to understand any size regulations set forth by the cemetery. Size regulations are often determined by the number of graves the monument will mark. Sizing is noted on scale drawings as Length X Width X Height. If the monument has a die and a base, there will be measurements for each.
While there is no set standard across the entire monument industry, there are typical sizes for common monuments. For example, an upright monument on one grave is usually no bigger than 36 inches long and 48 inches high, with a width of 6 or 8 inches. The monument professionals at Valiant Monument Design will work with you and the cemetery to help determine the proper size of any type of monument or marker desired.
Monuments and markers are found in three main materials- granite, bronze, and marble. Below, we will discuss the properties and benefits of each.
Marble was commonly used for headstones during the 1800s and early 1900s. Marble is recognized often by its bright white color. At the time, marble was a cheap and readily available material and was easy to carve with the decedent’s information. However, marble is soft and very susceptible to the elements. Over time, the face of marble headstones will wear down and become illegible. The style of marble headstones, which was tall and thin, also lead to issues with stability. Today, you will find marble headstones in many different conditions in cemeteries around the world, but it is not often used to create new stones anymore.
Bronze is a man-made metal, made up mostly of copper and tin. Bronze has been used to create statues, coins, and decorative feature for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the mid-1900s that bronze markers became popular. Most commonly, bronze is used for Government Furnished Markers, a marker given to all veteran’s which denotes their time of service, rank and years of date and death. These markers were adopted in 1940, joining the options of flat marble and flat granite. Bronze markers are often installed flush to the ground or mounted on granite or concrete. Bronze is strong enough to withstand the elements but may need to be repainted and restored after many years outside.
Granite is by far the most popular material used to create cemetery monuments and markers. Like marble, granite is a natural stone that is quarried around the world. It is available in an array of colors, such as grey, black, reds/browns, pinks and even green, each with their own naturally occurring patterns and markings. Granite is a durable material and able to withstand the effects of the elements for many years, without the need for repair. It is also easy to clean and maintain and can often be done without the help of professionals. With advanced engraving techniques, granite can accommodate a diverse range of design and engraving options.
As we move further into the monument design process, you can see that there are many choices to make. Next week we will discuss common monument profiles, as well as custom designs.