We choose a memorial that will be fitting to serve a very meaningful purpose. Whether a headstone, cremation memorial, ornamental vase – any memorial that we choose serves not only as a mark of a loved one’s final resting place, but also as an honourable tribute to the life that they lived.
Many families approach us here at Ursells in search of a fitting memorial, but are often unfamiliar with the different costs that are associated with different memorial types and the stone materials that can be used, or don’t understand why there are such price differences between what appear to be very similar memorials.
Many things can affect the final cost of a memorial – it all comes down to the size, shape, additonal extras such as ceramic photo plaques and frames, inscriptions or etchings, and as we are discussing here, the actual stone material that is used to create the memorial.
Choosing A Memorial Material
For many years, memorials to honour the deceased were mainly crafted from marble, slate and limestone. These three stone materials are still very popular choices, but although these materials are stunning in appearnce, they are rather prone to cracking, chipping and eroding at a much faster rate than some other materials due to the porosity of the stone.
Nowadays most people tend to opt for granite as their preferred material for a memorial.
Of course, many people still choose these marble, slate, limestone and others due to their visual appeal, and are comfortable knowing that the memorial will likely need to be replaced sooner than other materials – materials such as granite, which has seen its popularity soar due to its ability to last many lifetimes over without degrading at the same rate as many other stones.
Granite Memorial Material
Granite has many attributes that make it a fantastic material for memorials.
As we have noted, granite is extremely durable, but it is also available in a wide range of colours and shades, including greys, blacks, reds, greens, blues, and more.
Granite is formed through a geological natural process deep in the Earth’s crust due to hot magma that slowly cools without ever making it to surface level.
The crystals that can be seen in granite material are produced from the slow cooling that gradually takes place over time, and the unique characteristics, colours and patterns of different granite stone materials are gained from the variety of different minerals that the stone is composed of.
Fluctuating Memorial Material Prices
Some memorial materials are susceptible to fluctuations in price. Metals such as bronze are particularly exposed to changes in price due to changes with supply and demand.
Despite these fluctations, metal materials such as bronze are a popular choice in certain parts of the world due to the fact they can be easily mounted onto a granite or cement base, and also hold much of the same durable qualities as granite, capable of lasting thousands of years with little-to-no degradation.
Bronze may not be susceptible to rust, but it is still highly recommended that regular upkeep and memorial maintenance is carried out on any metal memorial.
Choosing a reputable memorial provider to craft your memorial will ensure you receive accurate information with regards to material pricing at any specific time, unlike a funeral home or cemetery who may not have as much relevant knowledge about the source, supply and demand of a certain material.
The Grade of Granite
When granite material is mentioned, it’s important to realise that not all granite provides the same reliability. To determine the quality of a particular granite material, it is labelled with a specific grade.
It can be extremely difficult to recognise the grade quality of granite with just the naked eye, espescially for those who are untrained in stonemasonry, but the grade of a granite material signifies its characterstics and reliability, including:
- Suitability (for cutting, crafting and finishing)
- Structural integrity
Low Grade Granite Vs. High Grade Granite
Low grade granite material, or level 1 grade granite, can be considered as being “commercial grade” or “builder’s grade”.
Level 1 grade granite may be the least expenisve grade and easier to obtain, but it is also the most prone to chipping, discoloration and general weathering over time. Furthermore, low grade granite can also pose problematic for professional stonemasons as it can prove difficult to effectively engrave or etch letting and designs, especially those with finer details.
A low density, flaws and inconsistencies that are evident in many low grade granites tends to diminish the sharpness and pristine appearnce of the material when it is cut or polished.
Level 2 grade granite is a mid-range granite that is a little thicker than grade 1. The patterns and colours are also a little more unique with a wider variety of markings. Being mid-range means you can expect the price of level 2 grade granite to sit higher than the lower quality grades but lower than the higher quality grades.
Level 3 grade granite is where we begin to see an increase in quality and that is reflected in the price. The appearance of level 3 grade granite is quite rare and is more difficult to source. This grade is thicker than level grade 2 and is often available in rarer colours and patterns and an increased amount of hard or soft minerals. As you would expect, there is also an increase in the durability.
These are the three most typical granite grades, though granite can go as high as grade 6 or 7 – increasing in rarity, quality and price with each grade.
Colours and Patterns of Granite Material
Due to granite being formed through a variety of different mineral and rocks, this leaves many different colours, pattern combinations and textures all unique from each other. Granite material can be sourced from many different regons, including North America, South America, Asia and Europe, with each granite type varying depending on where it was sourced.
If you’re unsure of where the granite material being used to craft your memorial was sourced, simply ask your memorial masons for more information.
It can be very interesting information to learn!
Grey Granite Material
Grey granite materials like those displayed above are readily available making them far easier for memorial masonry companies to obtain, so the prices are generally lower for these colours and shades.
Whereas granite material in colours such as blue pearl, ruby red or ocean green, as displayed above, are far rarer and more limited in supply.
So, now that we know there is a huge range of colours, patterns and qualities of granite available, how can somebody make sure they get a certain type?
This depends on three factors:
- The materials that are offered by your memorial provider
- The amount of time you’re prepared to wait
- How much you’re willing to spend on the memorial
Enquire With Your Bespoke Memorial Requirements
Here at Ursells we offer a wide range of memorials made from a variety of different materials, so if you’d like to learn more or would like to discuss your bespoke memorial requirements, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Our dedicated team of family advisors and highly-skilled memorial masons are always only too happy to help.
We have been serving Ross-on-Wye and the surrounding areas of Herefordshire with quality memorial masonry services since 1885, but our memorials have been known to travel extensively – so do feel free to get in touch no matter where you reside.