Choosing a cemetery headstone for a loved one can be a complicated process on a number of levels. Not only are you grieving the loss, but you're also tasked with choosing a headstone that will act as a permanent memorial for your loved one, so you will need to feel that you've made the best choice. Headstones are typically rectangular, but this certainly isn't the only option, with granite boulder memorials offering a unique alternative, helping to reflect the uniqueness of the person you've lost.
A granite boulder headstone is still the approximate size and shape of a traditional rectangular headstone while being more visually distinctive than other headstones. These boulders are made from a single piece of granite, although the boulder will have been reshaped to fit the necessary dimensions.
The Cemetery's Guidelines
Before considering a boulder headstone, you will need to check what is allowed at the cemetery where your loved one will be laid to rest. Some cemeteries might seem to exclusively feature traditional headstones because this is all that is permitted. However, it's not as though the size and shape of a boulder headstone differ greatly from a typical headstone, so it's unlikely that the cemetery's guidelines will exclude a boulder memorial. It's important that this is confirmed before the headstone is ordered.
A Flattened Edge
When ordering a boulder headstone, you may be limited in what can be recorded on the memorial's surface. Although the unique look of the boulder is retained, one edge is typically flattened to allow your loved one's details to be etched onto this surface. You might prefer to keep these details brief, such as their name, along with the years of their birth and death. Including an epitaph and photograph can result in more of the boulder's structure being sacrificed, which compromises the ultimate natural look of the memorial.
Another issue to consider is the fact that the outer surface of the boulder headstone will be rougher than a traditional headstone. Rectangular headstones are generally finished with an oxide powder to create a glossy, glass-like surface. Boulder headstones will be more permeable, meaning they will absorb moisture. This won't affect the structural integrity of the boulder; however, it can result in a gradual change to the colour of the stone. The manufacturer will tell you what level of discolouration can be expected, and it's your decision if this will be too much of a deterrent.
A boulder headstone can be a fitting memorial to a loved one who is no longer with you, with each headstone being unique in its own way, just like the loved one you've lost.