Commonly Used Definitions & Terms

Base: A piece of matching granite that a die(top) rests on. Typically a base has a polished top surface and the 4 sides are rocked pitched. The bottom is always sawn smooth. Sometimes the top 1 1/2" of all 4 sides are polished, called a "Margin."

Deed: A legal document proving ownership of the cemetery plot. It also indicates the location within the cemetery and size of the plot.

Die: A term referring to the top part of the base where the artwork and lettering is carved.

Foundation Fee: A fee charged by the cemetery for the pouring of the concrete which the headstone rests on.

Granite: The preferred material for headstones. Mined in almost every part of the world. It is a very hard stone made up of...........


HEADSTONES: Also referred to as tombstones, gravestones, cemetery memorials. The term includes all parts of the memorial, base and top. Once almost always made of marble, headstones are now almost always made of granite. Common sources of domestic granite include Vermont, Georgia, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Headstone granite is also imported from other countires and typically include Canada, India and China.


Grave Marker: Also referred to as a grass, flat or flush marker. The top of the granite is at grass level.

Bevel: Low to the ground, sloping towards the front.

Slants: Higher than a Bevel Style. Can be installed by with or without a base.

Upright: A two piece headstone consisting of a base and die.

Family: A larger two piece headstone also consisting of a base and die.

Ledger/Slab: A flat memorial placed full length on the ground. Usually covering the entire grave.

NOTE: All of the above are also commonly reffered to with "Companion." Typically a "Companion Marker" is a wider version of standard headstone. This allows for the names to be carved side-by-side when people are buried next to each other.


Frosted Panel: Removal of the high gloss polishing. Used to make letter boxes which helps the text stand out more clearly.

Polished: A high gloss surface.

Rock Pitched: Rough rocky surfaces. Usually used on the sides of both the bases and headstones.


Steeled: Smooth finish but not polished.






Sand Blasting: The process of laying a template on the granite and using air powered tools to cut & carve into the granite. There are 2 types of sandblasted designs;

1. Flat Carving: Shallow sandblasting, not 3 dimensional.

2. Deep or Shaped Carving: Deep sandblasting of the artwork, lettering and numbers, giving depthness and shaping to your artwork.

Scultured: 3 dimensional carvings.

Etching: A design or picture cut/scratched into the surface of a headstone using a diamond tipped tool and a computer generated template.


Memorial: A term that is used interchangeably with Headstone. A "Civic Memorial" is usually some sort of granite sculpture or stone work, memorializing a united cause or memory, such as a war and displayed in a public area.

Marble: Was once the only material used for headstones. Softer than granite, marble was hand tooled & carved. Once airtools came into use marble was gradually phased out and granite became the material most commonly used.

Margin: The top 1 1/2 inches of a base. Highly polished it is used to accentuate the overall look of the headstone/memorial.

Panel: An area of the headstone that has specific information. Panels are usually frosted, whereby removing the high gloss finish to make the text and numbers stand out.

Perpetual Care: A one-time fee charged by the cemetery for the lawn care & ground maintenance of the plot area.

Raised: A process that carves away the area surrounding lettering or numbers, leaving the text protruding out from the surface.

Recessed: An area of the granite that is cut out allowing another object to be placed into the area but remain even with the surface. Sometimes ceramic or bronze pictures are inserted into a recessed area.