Assessing the Quality of a Stone Grave Memorial
Stonecutting craftsman nowadays have technologically sophisticated tools at their disposal such as computers, laser etching, and diamond-tipped routers. Nonetheless, the same principles and practices of hand carving still hold true today as they did in previous centuries. What follow are some indicators that can help you assess the relative quality among stone memorials.
- Engravings – The depth of engraving should be deep enough so that each letter stands in strong contrast to the surrounding granite so that words are boldly visible and easily read whether in the sun or shade. The depth of the engraving should also be consistent, otherwise some letters or words will appear lighter than others, which detracts from readability and the overall esthetic of the personal memorial.
- Etchings – Likewise, personal memorial etchings must be of sufficient depth to give the image adequate clarity and depth.
- Durability – Gravestone memorials are meant to last for centuries—not merely years. Therefore, we only use materials and techniques that ensure that your personal memorial will look the same over generations as it did when we installed it.
- Coloring – Each piece of granite can be predominantly white, pink, or gray in color, depending on what minerals it contains before the stone is polished. The more it’s polished the more that the lighter shades dissipate and the darker ones come to fore. Thus, part of the art & science of stonecutting is polishing different areas of the granite to various degrees to create different shadings—and doing so with such precision and skill as to create attractive contrasts with razor-sharp delineations.
- Smoothness – When done correctly, the highly-polished surfaces of the granite will be glass-like, with no swirl “scars” from the polishing equipment that was used to “manufacture” the stone.
- Dimensionality – Especially in the cases of crosses and other stone imagery, personal memorials with the best physical presence and eye-appeal will be cut on more than just three planes. Beyond their basic height, length, and width, they will have interesting angles and dimensions that reinforce the distinguishing features of the design, even when viewed against the competing outdoor landscape.
- Painting – Generally, we discourage our client families from specifying painted images on a single or double memorial. Relatively speaking, paint does not last very long. Even the best paint fades, and it cannot hold up against the abrasive effects of wind-whipped soil. Nonetheless, we understand that sometimes a multicolored image is of such emotional significance that your family will want it on the memorial, and paint is the only option. In such cases, it’s imperative that the image be properly etched into the granite before paint is applied. This prepares the granite better to hold the paint—and is essential for the restorative maintenance that will be necessary over the course of time.