Different Types of Stones for Memorials

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A memorial should be made of a material that withstands the weather, and is suitable for shaping and ornamentation. We at Sunset Memorial & Stones completely understand the grief and devastation that is caused when a loved one passes away. We understand the need to demonstrate to the world the importance a person has made in our lives, and we help families convey a sense of remembrance, history, and respect through timeless, uniquely personal memorials.

The memorial stones we choose to specialize in are made of granite. You can choose from a wide array of monuments and cremation memorials or columbaria. Each can be personalized with the use of art, accessories and bases. Moreover, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always ask one of our representatives how to go about ordering a custom design.

Here are the different types of memorials seen in cemeteries today:

Granite Memorials:

Granite is an extremely hard stone and is ideal for memorial stones and headstones. Known for its durability and variety of colors, granite is currently the preferred material of choice for church graveyards and cemetery interment across the country.

For the consumer, there is a plethora of color options due to the vast number of quarries in North America and around the world. Formed of liquid magma, quartz, feldspars, mica and minerals that are unique to each geographic region, the granite varieties and color selections are endless. Each quarry on every continent offers its own exclusive characteristics, color combinations and patterns. This is what gives granite its distinct beauty.

The North American color varieties are impressive. To name but a few North American color varieties, individuals can choose from colors like: Georgia Blue, Laurentian Pink, Dakota Red or Stanstead Grey. If one is interested in accessing an even wider variety of colors, simply cross the oceans to find: the shimmering color variations of Blue Pearl, the soft greens of Ocean Mist, the lustrous black of African Impala or the bold intensity of India Red. The varieties and color combinations are endless.

Selecting a monument dealer with access to a wide variety of quarries may be important should you wish to have a specific color or unique design. Sunset Memorial & Stone specializes in meeting the diverse tastes and custom needs of it’s customers.

Bronze Memorials:

Bronze is the metal of choice in the cemetery industry. Revered for its color, resilience to nature’s elements and its longevity, bronze memorials are most often mounted to stones for commemorative: plaques, plates, statuary, vases and urns.

The casting of bronze is a fascinating process. Customized designs are sketched, positive molds are created out of wax, and negative molds are then created out of clay. Moulton metal is then poured into the mold. Composed of various ratios of copper to zinc and acids, these materials formulate the various color tones of bronze we see today. The bronze memorials are then sanded and polished to a high gloss or desired finish. They are then affixed to either a wooden plaque or granite surface with secure pins that are drilled into the base and secured with epoxy.

Sunset Memorial & Stone offers a wide variety of bronze memorials. Custom orders can be made upon request.

Sandstone Memorials:

Sandstone is a sedimentary rock made of rock grains and small sand sized minerals that are quarried across the continent. White, black, red, brown and golden yellow, the color combinations are dependent on the region’s sediment colors.

Historically, sandstone memorials were common in North American cemeteries and churchyards. If you have ever walked through these older historic cemeteries, you may recall seeing many of these older sandstone monuments. Selected for its softness and ease of sculpturing, sandstone was the preferred masonry stone of its time. Its close proximity to the growing settlements and communities at the time are why sandstone was a popular stone of choice in cemeteries.

As one walks though these historical sections of the cemetery today, we can see the impact time has had on this once popular stone. Many of these monuments today are in need of repair caused by the passing of time and the wrath of nature’s elements. Due to the porosity of the stone and its susceptibility to erosion and flaking there are long-term disadvantages to using sandstone. Sandstone is vulnerable to the freeze/thaw situations encountered in large swaths of the North American continent. For this reason, Sunset does not recommend sandstone as a stone for monuments.

Slate Memorials:

Slate is a metamorphic rock composed of clay minerals and micas. Strikingly beautiful in it’s deep grey tones and bold simplicity, slate was and is used in many applications from black boards to roof tops to even tombstones.

Historically, like sandstone, slate too was used as a monument material. Today some of these monuments can be found in the older sections of city and church cemeteries.

Unforgiving, when it comes to carving, slate is not an easy material to work with. Known for its porosity, slate is a vulnerable monument stone in extreme northern climates that contend with freeze and thaw seasons. Beautiful as it may be, Sunset Memorial & Stone does not recommend slate to its monument customers who are concerned about durability.

Marble Memorials:

Ask the great sculpture artists of the Renaissance why they chose marble? And they would say it was for its clarity and beauty. Using the limited tools of that time, this was also a stone that they were able to skilfully carve. The purity of the whites and soft veins of grey are some of the features that give marble that lustrous finished surface that we all love today.

Historically, cemeteries used marble for statuary and monuments. It was a very popular material for sculpture. Chosen for its beauty and easy of carving, many of the older cemeteries in North America and Europe are filled with these beautiful stone monuments. Sadly over time, pollution, acids in the atmosphere, and nature’s elements have wreaked havoc on many of these sculptures, tombstones, and monuments today.

Compared to granite, that ranks 6 – 7 on the “Moh’s Scale of Hardness”, marble ranks at a 3. Being as it’s a softer stone that is also vulnerable to environmental pollutants and environmental compounds, Sunset Memorial & Stone does not recommend marble memorials to our customers.

At Sunset Memorial & Stone, we provide a comprehensive range of memorials that enable you to convey exactly what was special about your loved one. We offer and provide numerous items and services from the smallest cremations keepsake to the largest family mausoleum. As professional monument masons, we work towards the highest standards throughout every stage of memorial production from the initial inquiry to careful installation in cemeteries and churchyards. It is important to us that families receive the reverent tribute and memorial they deserve.

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  1. Macchanmc (macchanmc) | Pearltrees March 23, 2016 at 7:21 am - Reply

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