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Guide to Headstone Material & Finishes

Headstone Material

Headstones or gravestones are incredibly personal, and should always be tailored to the person they’re commemorating. In addition to the inscription, shape, and flowers on a memorial, though, it’s extremely important to seriously consider the implications of the material you use.


Granite remains one of the most reliable and popular materials for building headstones. A granite headstone is extremely strong and provides a number of options in terms of appearance. With a range of colours available, there’s plenty of scope to personalise the piece while always maintaining the iconic, timeless style that granite provides. Finally, the durability of granite seals its reputation as one of the best materials for headstones.


Marble headstones are, again, relatively diverse. They offer plenty of versatility when it comes to appearance, allowing for white, grey, and black designs, while simultaneously providing a distinctive and iconic look. The material is also perfect for intricate and highly-detailed designs, making these headstones another firm favourite.


One of the main benefits of using sandstone for headstones is the ease with which they can be shaped. The material does not, therefore, restrict the stonemason in terms of the shape they’re able to fashion. For people who are looking for a truly bespoke shape to their headstone, sandstone provides a brilliant option.

Other Material Options

There are, of course, a number of other options when it comes to choosing the material for headstones. Several of them are rarely used today, but we’ve listed a few here for those among you who might want to consider something completely different:

  • Limestone
  • Slate
  • Iron
  • Wood


Other types of stone are available, but not necessarily in general use. If a customer requires a specific material not mentioned in our brochure we can advise on suitability.

Headstone Finishes

When it comes to choosing the type of finish for a headstone, there are a few different ones available: polished, part-polished, honed or eggshell, and lastly, pitched. Polished quite literally ‘does what it says on the tin’; it has a smooth and shiny finish but will require some maintenance. It could also look slightly out of place in older graveyards. Again, part-polished is fairly self-explanatory. With this finish, you can emphasise certain parts of the gravestone such as the inscription. Honed or eggshell finishes are achieved by removing a layer of polish, leaving the stone smooth and not shiny. A pitched finish gives a headstone a more aged look; this is particularly fitting if you want it to fit into a more traditional churchyard.

  • Polished
  • Part-polished
  • Honed
  • Eggshell
  • Pitched
  • Other finishes


To hear more about the options for different gravestones we provide here at Cope Memorials, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our highly-experienced team is incredibly knowledgeable, and will always be more than happy to offer impartial, useful advice. You can call us on 01173 602 187, or fill out one of our online contact forms and we’ll be in touch.


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