5 Things You Should Know Before Purchasing a Granite Memorial
1. Origin and Quality
All granite is a form of the same natural igneous stone, but it has different grades of quality, just like a diamond. Its characteristics include grade, porosity, density and a range of aesthetically pleasing rich, deep colors. Granite memorials vary by the region where the stone was formed and also from block to block. Stone for memorials should be harvested in a quarry that rejects selections that have streaks, knots, waves, high iron content, cracks, fractures, or “sap,” a term that describes iron-based discoloration. In addition, the quarry where granite is harvested should make quality control a priority and produce consistent output.
The best granite selection for your memorial will depend upon the design you choose. For example, sculpture is presented best on a tighter and finer-grained stone such as Rock of Ages SEALMARKTM Blue Gray that can handle the stressors of carving and maintain a consistent look and feel. Alternatively, if you choose a delicate design using etching and portraiture, a granite memorial that offers high contrast for readability, like Rock of Ages SEALMARKTM Starlight Black is recommended. These are some of the finest grained, highest contrast and most durable granite stones for memorials available in North America.
3. Local Cemetery
Different cemeteries have varying regulations regarding appropriate granite memorial styles. For example, certain cemeteries do not allow portraiture or personalization over a certain size or in specific locations. Some cemeteries require location numbers to be engraved in a specific area on the granite monument. Working with a monument company that has experience with area cemeteries is the best way to ensure that your memorial will meet the regulations.
Sometimes, a granite memorial can age to become difficult to read or less aesthetically pleasing than it was originally through fading or discoloration. For example, if a granite memorial has high iron content and is installed in a moisture-rich environment, rusting may occur. Be sure to purchase a granite memorial that is durable enough to withstand years of weathering so it can maintain its beauty. You may want to consider purchasing a granite memorial that will offer a perpetual warranty underwritten with insurance or by a dependable trust. Rock of Ages SEALMARKTM warranties are underwritten by the Wilmington Trust of Delaware and arrive with a specific warranty mark etched on the back of the monument. Read more about the Rock of Ages warranty here.
Ideally, your monument builder should also place your granite memorial, so it is important that you ensure installation is included when you purchase it. Often, online companies will ship granite memorials to the cemetery. However, in the state of New York, cemeteries are often not able to install the memorial. This can result in extra costs if the memorial is shipped back to the sender or to a local monument builder for installation. Therefore, it is always best to have one person manage the entire process and ensure it meets regulations. That way, if there is a problem, there is one person to call.
Not all granite is created equal.