Mostly found on or near the surface of the ground, widely disseminated on prairie farms and comes in many colors. The earliest markers for graves were natural fieldstone. Some who could not dig would use the fieldstone to cover the body. Farmer would be glad to rid his fields of fieldstone and it was free for the asking. Making it a good choice to use when someone died.
It’s hard and requires skill to carve by hand. Modern methods of carving include using computers to control the rotary bits, then sandblasting over a rubber stencil to place letters and numbers on the stone. Making it easy to add epitaph and artwork to the headstone. Granite can be found in quarries all over the world and when polished has a natural rainbow of beautiful colors that make marvelous patterns. Its beauty makes it the most popular of all stone memorials.
It’s readily available and easy to cut into elaborate carvings. It’s a very heavy stone, however mild acid in rainwater can slowly dissolve limestone over time. This can make for inscriptions unreadable after years in the elements.
Its extremely varied and colorful patterns make it a favorite decorative material. It’s only been the last decade that marble has become affordable and not only for the rich. All marble has color variations from block to block, and from quarry to quarry. So one monument would have to be made from the same block.
As the name implies, sandstone is composed of sand. After years sandstone markers can crumble to dust. Delamination occurs when moisture gets between the layers of the sandstone. As it freezes and expands the, layers flake off. In the 17th century, sandstone replaced field stones.
Its low tendency to absorb water makes it very resistant to frost damage and breakage due to freezing. Gravesstones can be thin generally not more then six inches. Usually in black, gray or blue color, extremely smooth fine grained stone, but sometimes fades with time. Holds carvings very well and inscriptions are usually very clear.
It can absorb and evenly distribute heat and is easy to manufacture. Aged appearance will occur naturally over time as the patina is enhanced. Applying mineral oil simply darkens the appearance of the stone; it does not protect it in any way. Is smooth to the touch, easily carved and darkens over time. Commonly used in Georgia.