​A headstone is an important and deeply personal tribute given to a passed away loved one. It is
an essential way to remember those who have passed away, serving a long-lasting
representation of their achievements in life.
As such, the design of a headstone is very rewarding, however it can easily feel overwhelming
for beginners. You’ll not only have to select the correct size of the memorial, but also consider
its style and the material it is made with.
Moreover, there are several customization options available to consider such as adding
symbols, images, design, and inscriptions that are set in stone.
To help you pick the right headstone design and lessen your burden, we list down important
personalization decisions that you must take in this emotional time. We have tried our best to
explain the difference between the two of the most common headstone design methods, namely
engraving and etching.

What is Headstone Engraving?

  • Headstone engraving is one of the most common design methods used to make symbols and lettering onto a headstone. Engraving is considered as an art of cutting various designs into a hard surface such as granite.
  • While chisels and hammers were typically used for granite engravings on a headstone, these days sandblasting has become the preferred method of applying this design.
  • Sandblasting comprises of a technique that uses compressed air to shoot small particles of sand through a machine to erode the granite surface. This is one of the most effective and accurate techniques for engraving these days and is best suited when you need lettering on a headstone. 

What is Memorial Etching?

  • When you need more details on a headstone, such as adding an image, etching is the method you have to pick. While engraving is good for adding symbols and lettering, it cannot be used to work with detailed designs. This is because it can end up creating a high contrast marking on the surface of the headstone. 
Currently, there are two methods of etching – hand and laser etching and here is how they differ from each other.

Hand Etching

  • Hand etching is a very unique and difficult skill that adds incredible customization to a headstone. Only talented hand etchers can take a picture and create a good image out of it. The method is applied through a diamond-tipped engraving tool. 
Hand etchers create images on granite by one dot at a time giving it incredible depth and contrast. This is considered deeper than a laser etching but it is only recommended for black granite.

Laser Etching

  • Laser Etching helps artists produce very accurate and detailed images of the original photographs. The process utilizes a computerized laser that burns the surface on the stone creating accurate results.
Laser etching is the go-to option for many because it is a cheaper alternative to hand etching and it relies on photos provided by the grieving family.

​There are many other aspects that go into the design of a headstone with each providing a means of honoring the life of a loved one. If you are unsure which method to go with, contact Dayton Headstones today and our professional team will walk you through the customization options and provide you the best solution for your budget and time. 

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