If you look at the headstones and other memorials that are displayed at any of the modern-day serving cemeteries across Bristol, you’ll likely notice a high percentage of them are crafted from the same type of material.
That material is granite.
So, that begs two questions – What is granite? Why is it such a popular memorial stone material?
What is Granite?
Granite is an igneous rock that forms in an incredibly interesting way.
Despite its visible beauty, granite stone isn’t created by man or machine.
Granite is naturally formed from cooling magma during a process that takes place over thousands of years deep beneath the earth’s surface.
If we take a stroll down history lane, we learn that the word granite originated from the Latin ‘granum’, which means grain.
This is in reference to the beautiful granular crystalline structure that is visibly present in the granite material.
Most stone granite mainly consists of quartz and feldspar, along with mica and other amphibole minerals.
The quartz and feldspar form a tight structure with the various minerals resulting in an interlocking composition that leaves the granite material incredibly dense and compact.
Granite is Difficult to Penetrate, Solid & Resistant
The tight structure makes it difficult for water to penetrate the material, thus making granite not only solid, dense and almost impenetrable, but also resistant to fungal and algal growth, while any general discoloration or collection of debris is easy to wipe away.
These unique characteristics has made granite a suitably reliable material with a multitude of construction purposes that have been utilised for thousands of years, dating back to the Egyptians, whose civilisation stretches back almost 8 millennia.
The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt contains an ancient sarcophagus built from red granite
Fast forward to today and granite is one of the most popular stone materials of choice for making headstones and other memorial monuments across the world.
Why is Granite a Popular Material for Memorials?
There are three main reasons why granite is a popular material for memorials:
1. Variety of aesthetic options
2. Highly durable
3. Easy to maintain
Let’s take a closer look at these three reasons…
Granite Offers an Abundance of Choice for Memorials
There is a huge variety of choice available when using granite for a memorial.
This is because stone granite comes in many different colours and shades, while being a material that memorial stonemasons can easily cut and sculpt into any shape.
A granite surface can also be finished with one of many different finishes.
Memorial masons can polish granite to leave a glossy and pristine finish that reveals the true vibrancy of the stunning colours within the granite grains. Polishing also adds a layer of protection by creating a barrier between the pores of the granite stone and the outdoor weather, while producing a surface that is perfect for memorial fine craft etching.
Alternatively, granite can be honed to a sophisticated matt finish, or “tooled” to achieve a more weathered and rustic appearance.
The variety of granite colours and shades that are available is what truly appeals to so many people.
Granite Memorials Are Built to Last
Due to its tight crystalline structure, granite is an incredibly hard and durable stone that will last far beyond several lifetimes.
Granite is a stone material that offers more durability than most other stone materials because of the following:
- Granite can withstand extreme temperatures
- Granite can better evade damage from a forceful impact, such as from a fallen tree
- Granite resists acid rain pollution and general weathering over a prolonged period of time
- Granite is better resistant to chipping and scratching
- Granite better resists most acts of vandalism
Despite these fantastic durable properties and it’s physical beauty, granite has no real salvage value so it’s very rarely a stone material that is stolen for profit.
The fact a slab of granite comes in at quite the heavy weight could have a little to do with that!
Granite Memorials Are Easier to Maintain
Granite memorials, particularly those with a polished finish, are generally much easier and cheaper to clean and maintain compared to memorials made from other more porous stone materials.
Soil, bird foul, moss, grass trimmings and other general dirt can be easily wiped away with a soft cloth and weak mixture of soapy water.
People want their memorial to remain in a beautiful condition and appear as good as new for as long as possible – something that can certainly be achieved with just a little maintenance from time to time for those who choose a granite memorial.
Here at Summers Memorials, we’ve been crafting memorials from granite and other stone materials since 1906. That’s over 100 years of expertise and craftsmanship passed down through the generations to deliver the people of Bristol and surrounding areas of Somerset with headstones, kerb sets, cremation memorials and the like that truly honour their loved ones. To discuss your memorial requirements in more detail, don’t hesitate to reach out to our compassionate team of family advisors. You can call us on 01179 557 676, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our simple online contact form.