In today’s post, we’re looking at some of our most asked questions about using granite for headstones:
- What is granite composed of?
- How is granite formed?
- What are some uses for granite?
- What colors can granite be found?
- To our point, why is granite chosen over other stones in most cemeteries?
What Is Granite?
First, the word “granite” has its origins in the Latin “granum,” which means grain. The Latin word is an apparent reference and description of the granular, crystalline structure visible in any piece of granite.
Most granite consists mainly of feldspar and quartz. It also has various quantities of mica and a variety of other amphibole minerals.
Typically, the quartz and feldspar form a tight, interlocking structure with the other minerals scattered throughout. This structure creates a very uniform composition which causes the granite to be a complex, dense, rigid natural material.
The tight crystalline structure also means water has a challenging time penetrating the stone. This resistance makes it quite durable and able to withstand inclement weather for very long periods (like centuries or millennia)—all without losing its structural integrity.
Believe it or not, geologists have found granite naturally all over the world. Most of the Earth’s surface has granite somewhere underneath the top layers of sedimentary materials such as dirt, sand, and other organic materials.
In fact, geologists have found that most mountain ranges are granite forced upward by Earth’s plates shifting. In the U.S., the Rocky Mountains are a prime example of this.
Qualities Of Granite
- Granite is a rigid natural material, making it relatively resistant to chipping or scratching.
- Granite is also quite strong, meaning it can bear a lot of weight. This makes it an excellent building material.
- Since granite is so dense, it is resistant to weather over long periods.
- Artisans can polish granite to a beautiful, glossy sheen which pulls out the beautiful colors and intricacies hidden within its grains.
- Granite can come in various colors, from very light grays to midnight black. It can also be found in blues, greens, reds, pinks, oranges, and just about anything in-between. (There’s even a Norwegian granite that comes in a delightful shade of blue!)
Common Uses For Granite
Today, granite has a plethora of uses, like construction, decorating, and engineering. And, of course, many people choose granite for headstones and memorials.
For construction, project planners choose granite for buildings, bridges, paving, monuments, countertops, flooring, and more. Granite’s popularity in construction is not as widespread as it once was due to its high costs. To a large degree, granite has been replaced by much cheaper, manufactured construction materials.
The other primary use of granite is for cemetery headstones and monuments, even despite its higher costs. Granite is still regularly used for monuments to convey a sense of lasting elegance, power, and prestige.
Why Do People Recommend Granite For Headstones?
People have been choosing granite for memorials and headstones for a reason. Here are four that experts commonly cite:
Granite Is Hard
Granite’s tight crystalline structure means it is an everlasting (or close to it!) stone. This longitude is a good thing for any memorial you would like to last for hundreds of years.
Granite Is Supremely Durable
Unless you live in a completely temperate climate, you probably need to consider weather fluctuations. Granite is highly durable when it comes to withstanding the weather and other potentially damaging agents. Moreover, granite can withstand natural elements for centuries and still be legible.
Granite Is Sculptable
Sculpting granite isn’t quite as easy as sculpting marble or softer materials. But because of its durability and hardness, people often choose granite for outdoor pieces such as monuments.
Finishers Can Polish Granite
With the right tools, artisans can create a beautiful, glassy polish on any piece of granite. The polish serves many purposes for an outdoor cemetery monument.
First, a polished surface is elegant and beautiful. Polished granite almost magically draws out all the color and details encased in the stone’s crystalline structure in unexpected ways. A well-polished surface indeed draws out a stone’s beauty and elegance.
Additionally, a polished surface serves as an added layer of protection for the granite. The polish creates a barrier between the pores of the stone and the outside weather, reinforces the stone’s ability to withstand inclement weather, and significantly lengthens the life of a monument.
Granite For Headstones
Granite is an excellent natural stone. It’s widely available throughout the world. Granite’s colors are incredibly diverse. Plus, it can last seemingly forever, even in the harshest weather systems.
All of these reasons means that granite is very popular for use in cemetery headstones and memorials.
At Monument Solutions, LLC, we take pride in helping communities, families, churches, and cemeteries preserve their headstones’ structural integrity and beauty. Read more about our work here.