Monument or Headstone design can be basically categorized into two groups: sandblasting and etching. The first, sandblasting is completed by using a compressed air powered machine that blows sand particles at extremely high pressure (at approx. 50-60 psi) on to the granite removing polish and engraving the chosen design or characters into the surface of the granite itself. The second, etching is completed by using an expensive and custom laser machine. Laser etching just pierces the surface on the polished face of the cemetery memorial this depth is why the detail can more easily be seen. However, laser etching can only be performed on jet black or evergreen granite and is more costly.
The most popular type of monument design is sandblasting or engraving. There are two basic types of sandblasted design: flat carved and shape carved. Flat carved sandblasted designs are a one step sandblast process in which the designs and or lettering are sandblasted into the high quality solid granite through a pre-cut stencil that is attached to the headstone. This results in the design and lettering being engraved into the granite 1/4" to 3/8" deep. This is the most affordable way to add characters, letters, and designs onto the memorial of your choice. Many people choose to enhance the overall design of the monument by adding a lithochrome stone paint to the engraved characters or design to make it "pop". At Headstones USA, this can be added to the memorial of your choice free of charge in either white or black. Colors are available but may incur an additional charge. The second type of sandblasted design is shape carved. At Headstones USA we perform the flat carving or engraving in our warehouse thereby cutting out the middle-man and saving you money.
The second type of sandblasting is called shaped carved or out carved. This type of design is more involved and usually requires a two-step process. In this process the headstone is sandblasted and then blasted again for more depth and shape in the design. Although custom designs can be ordered the most popular shape-carved designs are roses and other flowers. At Headstones USA we offer several in-stock out carved or shape carved monuments such as the U2 and TF-A17 models which can be found under the monuments with carved flowers category or reached by clicking on the following link:
As well as, a wide variety of other special order out-carved or shape-carved monuments such as the TF-A30, TF-A10, TF-A11, TF-A12, TFa17, TF-A19 and the TF-A28 among others that can all be found by following the previously provided link.
Etched design or laser etching is a process in which an image or photograph is scanned into a computer and that scanned image is then transfer onto the grave marker. This type of transfer allows for intricate detail and a very clear and realistic image of the original photograph or design in white on the black or evergreen granite. The laser etching just pierces the surface of the polished face of the cemetery monument rather than sandblasting the polish and actual granite away. The level of depth achieved results in the intricate detail that can be seen with laser etching. There are two main drawbacks to this type of design or engraving. The first is the limitation in color choices. In order to maintain clarity of detail and the etching process to be successful it can only be completed on jet black or dark evergreen granite, which severely limits the consumer choice. Secondly, laser etching is more expensive than the previously described methods. Keeping the two drawbacks in mind, laser etching creates a very detailed and unique look and is a great way to pay tribute to your loved one. Click on the provided links to view examples of laser etching on our completed monuments:
a western scene at
a firefighter insignia at
a photograph of the deceased at
If you would like more examples or details about laser etched designs please feel free to contact us.
No matter what type of design method you select, we will assist you in choosing the perfect design and monument to pay tribute to your loved one and a life well lived at a price you can afford. And if you have any questions concerning the information provided here, or any other aspect of monument design or selection contact us by phone 314-807-6910 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.