Headstone Materials: What Types of Stone are Headstones Commonly Made From?

Headstone materials and intricacies of grave marker design have changed over the years as the ability to quarry and carve the stones have advanced. Today, we think of headstones (also sometimes called gravestones or tombstones) as being made of granite. Indeed, granite is a popular choice well-proven as a canvas for carving. But along with granite, let’s look at other stones that are, or have been, used as headstone materials:


Granite remains a hugely popular modern choice among headstone materials. It is a very hard and durable stone that can be polished to a glossy sheen. Modern carving techniques, including the use of sandblasting and computer-controlled rotary bits provide virtually limitless inscription and design options. Granite headstones are available in many color variations. They are also quite heavy, which makes them difficult to steal or tip over.


Among the earliest stone used for grave markers was fieldstone. Readily available especially in rural areas, fieldstone markers can be durable and attractive. Their natural shapes make interesting headstones. They can be hand-carved or inscribed using modern etching techniques.


The popular use of marble has diminished in modern times, perhaps due to cost and the possible degradation of inscriptions due to acid content in rainwater. Nonetheless, white marble is still the standard among headstone materials in use at Arlington National Cemetery for grave markers and niche covers.


Limestone is a hard and durable stone in plentiful supply in Indiana. It can also take carving well. However, like marble, it can degrade due to acidic rainwater.


Sandstone is soft and can be easily carved. However, it is prone to delamination as moisture penetrates sandstone layers and causes the layers to flake off.


Like sandstone, slate can be easily carved but is also prone to delamination.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is costly, but is becoming increasingly popular among headstone materials. With a modern look that can even be finished to a mirror sheen, stainless steel headstones can also take intricate inscriptions and design work well.

Final Thoughts

At Stillinger Family Funeral Home in Greenfield, Indiana, we know that the funeral services we provide to families are not normally the final piece of paying tribute to a departed loved one. Whether it is the scattering of cremation ashes, or burial of the deceased in a cemetery, final tributes may continue after funeral services have concluded. The choice of headstone design and headstone materials is a personal one that may also depend on the requirements and restrictions of the chosen cemetery. Here at Stillinger Family Funeral Home, we offer a wide selection of monuments, markers and mausoleums, and can help families make the right selection of this important tribute. Simply contact us at (317) 462-5536.

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