A grave marker personifies a loved one who has passed on. It may be one of the only things that future generations can access regarding someone’s life. There are many options when choosing a marker for your loved one, but we’ll start with the basics and discuss the more common materials used for markers today.
Many different factors come into play when deciding which material you should choose. Things to consider could be tradition, location, and personal preference. The three primary materials markers are made of are granite, marble, and bronze. Each of these can be customized based on your individual preferences.
Granite is the most popular choice when it comes to gravesite markers. They are desirable because of their natural beauty. Granite is unique when it comes to color, pattern, and texture. This allows for more options when considering upright, flush to the ground, or slanted markers.
Another great reason to choose granite is its durability. Granite markers are solid and can resist harsh weather. It is nearly impossible to scratch, stain, or chip it, allowing it to withstand the test of time.
It is recommended that grave markers be cleaned from time to time. You should avoid using chemical agents or wire brushes to clean granite. Even though it is strong and durable, it can be scratched or stained if you use the wrong cleaning materials. Depending on the amount of collected dirt and debris, gently wash with water and a soft cloth to remove the worst of the dirt, but be prepared; this could take longer than you expect. Household glass cleaner can be used once the worst of the debris is removed to give the stone a streak-free, polished look.
Families who choose granite for their memorial marker will enjoy peace of mind knowing that the memorial of their loved one will maintain its look for many years to come.
Marble markers come in a wide array of beautiful colors, but gray and white are the most common due to their affordability. Marble grave markers were the most popular from the 1850s through the 1940s because they were the easiest and most cost-effective to produce. Today, families that choose marble are typically drawn to its unique veining patterns and shading.
Over the years, it has been noticed that marble markers will chip, scratch, and crack easily. Engraving may also become more challenging to read as time goes by. The safest way to clean a marble grave marker is to use natural or distilled water and a damp cloth. Like all-natural stone, marble is porous. It has tiny holes or pores that air and moisture can pass through. Any soaps or cleaners could penetrate the stone, causing discoloration. Should you clean it, only use water and a lint-free cloth.
While marble does not hold up as well as granite outdoors, it remains intact and retains its elegance for hundreds of years. It is also worth mentioning that families who select an indoor crypt, mausoleum, or an urn made of marble can be confident that their loved one will be memorialized for many years to come.
Second to granite, bronze markers are the most commonly used today. Bronze’s natural elegance, warmth, and durability are features many people are drawn to. They also come in all shapes and sizes.
One thing that makes bronze markers unique is the fact that there are so many personalization options available. Some common choices include:
- Full-color photo medallions
- Collage of colored photos
- Custom backgrounds
- Personalized emblems
As you can see, there are many options for creativity in design. It allows you the flexibility to add inscriptions or anecdotes to commemorate your loved one in ways that you see fit.
Bronze markers require very little maintenance, especially if it has been treated with a protective coating. This coating will prevent oxidation from ruining the appearance of the marker. Occasional cleaning may be required to preserve its shine, but that is easy to do with a soft cloth and some non-ionic soap.
No matter the type of market you decide upon, the memorial should be a reflection of the deceased. Remember, this will not only commemorate your loved one but also help future generations learn about their ancestors.
Choosing a grave marker can be a difficult task to take on, but it is an essential step in the healing process. It helps acknowledge the life of a loved one and memorialize them for many years to come.