Headstones are erected to mark graves in both cemeteries and churchyards, and in other non-traditional burial sites. Because a headstone provides a lasting tribute to a family member or loved one, it’s important that it is a monument that will last. That means it should be made of a material that will withstand changing weather conditions over many years, will take a lasting carved inscription of lettering and maybe images, and can be shaped and ornamented appropriately. Time has shown that the most appropriate material that meets these criteria is stone, which is why the headstones you see will commonly be made from granite, marble, slate or another natural stone.
Different types of stone offer different qualities in a headstone. Granite can produce a very hard-wearing headstone, as it will stand up well to extreme weather conditions. It can be polished to a shiny finish and is very attractive, coming in various different colours. Meanwhile, marble is a very good material for carving, so a headstone made of marble may be able to be carved into more elaborate patterns. The downside of this is that a headstone made of marble may weather and deteriorate over the years, although it will still last for a good number of decades. In many rural areas, slate is a popular option for headstones, as it matches the natural stone of that area and is also a hard-wearing material. Slate is also a good option for a headstone or other memorial that will sit in a garden or forest because it has a more rustic appearance.