Deciding on a memorial for a loved one can be a tremendously emotional experience for families. Describing and defining a life through the permanence of stone can be overwhelming when compounded with the experience of deep loss. At Sunset Memorial and Stone we focus on helping families through the process with compassionate care. We respect the individual needs of our families and do everything in our power to assist them during this very difficult time.

We recognize that every family is different when it comes to the timing of when to choose a monument. There are some families who need closure and want to see the monument immediately after the interment. There are others who come back years later wishing to commemorate the life of their loved after they have had time to reflect. We have even experienced situations where families are so overwhelmed with decision making that they stop mid process and come back years later to finish the design. All situations are natural and every family situation is uniquely theirs. We respect that.

Sometimes it’s hard to think about aesthetics when facing the loss of a loved one. However, a granite memorial stone is going to be around for a long time and it makes sense to choose something that not only looks beautiful but also suits the personality of the departed soul.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a monument for a loved one. The first should be to decide on a budget. Once that decision is comfortably made the design process and inscription details all fall into place.

Select the Design

Choosing the shape of monument is the first to consider in the design process. There are an endless array of shapes and sizes from which to choose: from simple flat markers, to book shapes, heart shapes, to upright monuments to elaborate custom sculptural memorials. An important thing to note when selecting a smaller stone is to keep the artwork clean and simple. Larger stones can usually handle larger fonts, borders, trim and more intricate graphic images.

To add presence and prominence, most monuments are set on a granite base that can vary in size and color. What some may not be aware of is that a granite base also serves more than simply an aesthetic purpose. It elevates the monument to protect it from debris that can be ejected from cemetery maintenance equipment.

Choosing a Granite Color

Once the shape of the stone is determined then choosing a color is next. Something to keep in mind when selecting the color of the stone is that some granite stones are not suited for laser etching artwork. Laser is designed to give that “photographic quality” and is best suited to darker black reflective stones. Laser images tend to become lost in speckled colored granite. So if you would like laser etching on a monument, think about a solid dark granite color.

For those wishing to use multi-colored stones with white flecks in the pattern, it’s important to note that engravings may not provide the desired contrast. In order to achieve a deeper contrast, permanent paint colors can be added inside the engraved inscriptions to make them bolder and create prominence. Rich reds, deep greens and shimmering gold can be painted onto the engraved sections of the stone.

Photography can also be inserted into the monuments using porcelain portraits or cameos. Designed to withstand the elements of nature, the over-glaze protects the image from sunlight and ultraviolet rays that can fade ordinary photo images.

Contemporary Design

Most standard monument companies today offer a sleek and more modern aesthetic monument design in their collections. Organic, natural rock, shaped monuments are popular for those wishing for less tradition and formality in design. Custom designs and monument shapes inspired by those seeking a more uniquely distinct monument can be easily created through collaboration and special orders. Don’t hesitate to ask your monument dealer if custom orders are possible.

Personalize the Memorial Stone

At Sunset, we see a new monument as a blank page, waiting for a great story to be told… or blank canvas, anticipating the first touch of color of a brush’s stroke. You can incorporate intricate details and artwork to enhance the appearance of the marker in order to memorialize the deceased.

When deciding on what to inscribe on a monument it is important to think about the wishes of the departed. Recalling past discussions with your loved one about their desires for commemoration is really helpful. Respecting cultural heritage and traditions may be important considerations. For example incorporating an Asian symbol can easily be conveyed in a monument’s shape and graphic design. Meaningful Aboriginal shaped stones and designs can also be created. Religious symbols like the Star of David, the Bible, The Holy Cross, a crescent moon, angels, praying hands or a medicine wheel are just a few of a multitude of religious imagery that can be depicted on a monument. For example, you can ask us to engrave a guitar design on the memorial stone of a loved one who enjoyed playing music. In companion memorial stones, consider incorporating entwined wedding rings to symbolize eternal love and devotion. Think about favourite imagery that appealed to your loved one such as: birds, flowers (roses, tulips, lilies), butterflies trees, landscape settings and even books. Ultimately, when choosing graphic images, focus on reflecting the passions and interests of the individual and help provide visitors a window of reminiscence through art.

Consider a motto, a meaningful inscription or epitaph, that evokes truth and meaning to a life once lived. Design a tribute that speaks to the joy and meaning the loved one gave to others. Incorporate intricate details and artwork base on a theme that will enhance the appearance of the marker in a uniquely personal way.

Despite the best of intentions, nobody can truly understand the depth of you loss. All we have to offer you at this most difficult time is an open heart and dedicated support to help you memorialize your most precious loved one. At Sunset Memorial & Stone, our professional monument masons are trained to customize the kind of memorial stone you’re looking for.