General

Why Are Headstones Typically Made of Granite?

By April 15, 2022 May 13th, 2022 No Comments

Granite headstones at Arlington National Cemetery

Colorado memorials are almost always made out of granite. But why is that?

Your headstone memorializes you forever. Generations of your family will come to visit your place of rest, and that’s what they’ll see. So of course you want it to be beautiful, durable, and unique.

If you choose the wrong material, your tombstone might succumb to bad weather and the details will end up smoothed out, either needing repair or forever being illegible.

It’s important to have a great tombstone- both for yourself and for those who visit you.

Granite is a great option. But why?

What is granite?

Let’s dive into what makes granite so special!

Mineral makeup

Granite is made of quartz, feldspar, mica, and more.

Generally speaking, the feldspar and quartz creates a tight and interlocking structure with the other minerals. Sometimes this structure is even and sometimes it’s not.

The tightness of the structure also prevents water from penetrating the stone. This means it can withstand bad weather for centuries and millennia while maintaining its integrity.

Geography

Granite is found worldwide. Most of the surface of the earth has granite beneath it.

The majority of mountain ranges are made from granite pushed upwards by the earth’s plates. For example, the Rocky Mountains were made this way. Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore are two huge sculptures in South Dakota that are carved out of granite mountains!

Geology

If you recall elementary school, you might have learned about the different kinds of rocks. Granite is igneous, so it was created by cooling magma.

For the crystalline structures to be created, the magma must have cooled slowly over the course of thousands of years at high pressures due to being far underneath the surface of the earth.

Since it’s formed underground, any granite above the earth’s surface has either:

  • Had all the sand and dirt eroded away from it, exposing the granite beneath.
  • Been pushed up by the movement of the tectonic plates.

Colors

Granite comes in just about any color under the sun. Light to dark grays, completely black, red, orange, pink, green, blue…it’s all possible.

The huge color variety is due to all the different locations that granite is quarried from because the geography of each area is different, producing different mineral makeups.

Some colors like black and gray will have similar colors and patterns no matter where they come from. But other colors like green and blue are fully unique to where they are from. To demonstrate, Norway has incredible blue granite that can’t be found anywhere else.

Qualities

Here are some of the standout qualities of granite.

  • It’s an incredibly hard natural material, so it doesn’t chip or scratch easily. This is especially true when you compare it to other natural materials like sandstone or marble.
  • Granite can handle a lot of weight because of how strong it is. That’s why it’s used for constructing buildings.
  • Granite is dense and tight, so it’s weather-resistant for a long time.
  • It can be polished for a glossy effect that highlights the stunning intricacies and colors of the stone.

Why granite is great for headstones

Now that you know a bit about granite, let’s see why it’s so great for memorials and monuments!

It’s sculptable

Sculpting granite isn’t as easy as sculpting marble, but it’s still the material of choice for most outdoor pieces like monuments and gravestones. If you’re spending the money and time to put a beautiful engraving on your monument, you want it to last.

If you choose marble, your figure will be all smoothed out when your grandchildren and great-grandchildren come to visit you. But with granite, everything will still be as crisp as day one.

It’s durable

Granite is incredibly durable and great at withstanding the elements, especially when polished.

It’ll stand up to the elements for centuries and still be completely readable. As headstones are a way for your memory and legacy to live on, it’s important to have one that will last.

It’s hard

Granite has a tight crystalline structure. This makes it very hard. When you want a memorial to last hundreds of years, hard is ideal!

If something falls on it or it gets tipped over, nothing will happen to it. It also won’t scratch. Cracking is highly unlikely as the crystalline structure is naturally water-repellent, and polishing makes it even more so.

It can be polished

When done correctly, a glassy, impressive polish can be put onto granite. The polish has two main purposes.

The first purpose is that it’s gorgeous! Polished granite pulls out all of the details and colors in the stone so its beauty can shine through.

Its other purpose is to act as protection. It protects the stone’s pores from the weather and helps the already-durable stone withstand bad weather. It increases the life of the monument by a long time!

Final thoughts

The headstones in Littleton stand out for one reason- their granite!

If you want your tombstone to hold up to the elements for centuries all while being elegant to memorialize your memory, then a custom granite tombstone is the right choice for you.

When people come to visit you, they want to see a tombstone that is as special as you are. And you deserve to be remembered for everything that you are.

A granite tombstone will keep your memory alive with its beauty, intricacy, durability, and uniqueness.