Headstones and Memorial Design Gallery

Choosing a headstone design begins with telling a story. We can help you choose the headstone type, color, size, and shape that will most accurately tell the story of your loved one for generations to come. We offer a free, no obligation consultation with our designer and will provide a color rendering of your proposed memorial at no charge.

Q. How do you select a proper memorial?

A. History reveals that the erection of monuments is as old as civilization. A true memorial should be so designed that it has a two-fold purpose: First it should express your love, affection and admiration of one whose life was deeply woven with your own. By the use of interpretative ornaments and commemorative symbols, you can perpetuate precious personal ties. Secondly, it should endeavor to reflect something of the personality, achievements, ambitions, avocations or credo of the departed one.

Q. Where are the components found in a fine memorial?

IN THE LETTERING. Be sure the lettering is deep and legible without the use of black paint, which will eventually fade away or streak the monument.

IN THE CARVING OF THE ORNAMENT. Pay particular attention to the shape of ornamental leaves or flowers. Are they crude and shapeless? Careful comparison can distinguish artistry from crudity. Is the background of the design darker than the leaf itself? This is an indication of quality craftsmanship involving several detailed processes.

IN THE FINISHES. Do polished surfaces have a high deep shine or are they dull and lusterless? Does a deep and dark polished area or a weak grey polish that is hardly different from the face border the lettering surface?

SIZE IS NOT A MEASURE OF VALUE. Granite for monumental purposes of any size from the same area can vary greatly in color, purity and cost. Furthermore, the craftsmanship on a small monument can excel that of a larger one.

Q. How soon after death should a monument be ordered?

A. Monuments should be ordered at the time of funeral arrangements, since it requires considerable time to manufacture. The granite must first be quarried, after which it goes through many processes. However, the most time consuming element in the erection of a monument is the building of the foundation. Some cemeteries will not pour a concrete foundation until nine months after the burial. Please consult with our Monument Department concerning such questions and regulations. The winter months prevent the construction of foundations because concrete cannot be mixed during freezing weather. If an unveiling is planned for the early spring, arrange to purchase the monument no later than early November. The foundation can then be finished during December before the frost sets in. Foundation construction is usually halted in winter until late March or April after the ground has thawed. The average time is 2 to 4 months for the memorial to be in place at the gravesite.

Q. What facts and information should you take with you when purchasing a monument?


1) The name of the cemetery where it is to be delivered.
2) The name of the congregation or Burial Society that sold you the grave or       a deed to the plot.
3) The correct English name of the deceased.
4) The correct birth date.
5) The correct death date.
6) The relationship to the family (Example: should a monument for a young husband also say "dear son, brother"), even if purchased solely by the widow.
7) Was the deceased (men only) a Koen, or a Levi or an Israelite.
8) Do you want an emblem such as Masonic, Knights of Pythias or Holocaust Survivor on the monument? A caduceus for a doctor.
9) The deceased Hebrew name (not Yiddish).
10) The deceased father's Hebrew name (usually not the mother's).
11) Any Hebrew name given during life, as during severe illness and recovery.
12) Do you want some expressive epitaph such as: "Forever in Our Hearts", "Forever Cherished", "Loved by All".

Many families purchase the monument at the time of funeral arrangements since all the above information is available at that time.

Q. Does the cemetery have the exclusive gardening rights? Can you engage an outside florist or do the gardening yourself?

A. A cemetery cannot legally prevent you from engaging an outside florist to do your planting, and/or care of the grave, but there is little to be gained by this practice. The cemeteries are better equipped than anyone else to do the planting and annual care. They know from experience which plants thrive best in their cemetery and maintain a year-around staff to attend to grave care. Furthermore, only the cemetery can provide the care allocated by the "Perpetual Care Trust Fund".

Q. What is perpetual care? Is it costly?

A. This is an optional service. Usually the cemetery provides for the establishment and maintenance of a Perpetual Care Trust Fund, closely supervised by the State, wherein lump sums of money are deposited with the cemetery for perpetual care of graves. This does away with the annual care charge and assures that the interest on the original sum deposited will perpetually provide for the care and maintenance of the grave. The principal is never used up; it merely becomes part of a large fund. The cemeteries will readily furnish information on these funds upon request. Please check carefully with the cemetery as to other costs involved prior to the establishment of Perpetual Care Account, initial planting on the grave, re-seeding, etc.

Q. What causes the discoloration of monuments in the cemetery?

A. Granite is composed of quartz, feldspar, mica and other materials. There are sometimes also traces of ferrous (iron) metals in oxide form. When a strata of granite containing ferrous metals is used for monumental purposes, oxidation occurs and the granite changes color. White granite with such impurities turns brown or yellow. Another frequent cause of discoloration is the use of "top quarry" granite for monuments. When a new area is cleared of topsoil for quarrying, the top layers of granite have been saturated with organic and inorganic chemicals contained in the soil immediately above it. These impurities, which have been absorbed by the top layers of granite, are called "sap". They are not apparent in newly manufactured monuments, but exposure to the elements at the cemetery dissolves them and makes them come to the surface. Although the supply of granite is inexhaustible, only about twenty percent is suitable for monumental use.

Please click the link to begin telling your story: www.designmemorials.com