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Top Ideas for Grave Markers

When a loved one passes away and the plans are made for a burial, it’s important to research ideas for grave markers and engravings before making a purchase. Choosing a grave marker is an important process because a grave marker ultimately becomes a part of a loved one’s memorial. It is a memento by which people will remember a loved one and visit years after their passing. For some, a grave marker will be a simply gesture to the life of the loved one, while others may want to pay more to honor a loved one in a big way.

While it may be difficult to think about, researching grave markers is especially important if the loved one was a spouse or a parent and you are considering if the grave marker should have room for another person. If so, it can be designed in a way that can represent a couple and updated when a second person has passed.

The following ideas for grave markers are taken from best practices and themes commonly seen at cemeteries in the US. That being said, designing a grave marker for a loved one is a personal process. So talk to friends and family before choosing a design and don’t hesitate to break from the templates you’re given to choose from.

Granite Flat Cemetery Markers

Grave markers can be made from a variety of materials, including granite, bronze, marble, sandstone, limestone, soapstone, fieldstone, stainless steel, cast iron, and others. The most popular cemetery markers consist of a single plate made of granite because they are durable, easy to clean, and at times preferred by a cemetery. A granite individual gravesite marker can commemorate loved ones with basic information, including a person’s name, date of birth, and date of death. Depending on the size of fonts used and the size of the marker allowed by the cemetery, you may also be able to include a short message like “A loving father” or “In loving memory.” Keep in mind as you’re researching that an average individual gravesite marker will measure around 24 in. X 12 in. X 4 in., while a double grave site marker would need to measure double in length.

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Bronze Flat Cemetery Markers

Grave markers can also be cast in bronze with a simple yet elegant design. Bronze is comparable to granite in terms of durability and ease of cleaning, but may appeal to someone looking for a different aesthetic. Keep in mind that some cemeteries will require that you mount a bronze plaque onto a granite base, which would increase the cost by needing to use two different materials.

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Raised Cemetery Markers

A raised cemetery marker, also called a slanted cemetery marker, can be made out of bronze and granite and be preferred over a flat marker because it can stand out more above other flat markers and be spotted easier from afar. Raised markers will have a slant to make it easier to read the cemetery marker from a distance.

Unique Headstones

Both bronze and granite are easiest to carve, and therefore lend themselves to be better materials for custom and detailed designs. Honoring a loved one may be better with a custom design that can capture a detail or image that represents a loved one. You'll want to contact a headstone maker and discuss your design details with them directly. Most headstone makers will work with you through a process to ensure the end product is exactly what you're looking for. Since headstones are so expensive and are intended to last, be clear about what you're looking for, what your expectations are, and ask what your options are when speaking with your chosen vendor. If you don't know any local headstone makers or aren't sure where to start, you can always purchase a headstone online.

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Religious Headstones

If you would prefer to commemorate a loved one with religious symbolism, there are many religious headstones to choose from. Headstones are different from grave markers in that they aren't flat and are instead upright. Upright headstones tend to be much more expensive than flat grave markers due to the amount of material used to make the headstones. Religious headstones that include religious depictions can become very expensive, depending on the type of design you're interested in and the intricacy of your headstone choice. If purchasing a religious headstone is something you're set on, but don't currently have the funds for, you could consider purchasing a religious headstone that doesn't have intricate statues or designs added on and instead simply has a religious verse engraved on the stone itself.

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If you’re looking to purchase a grave marker or headstone, visit Clear Stream Monuments where you can browse ideas and choose from a variety of options, or customize your own.

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Last updated November 5, 2021
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