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Headstone Inscriptions: Some of Your Questions Answered

One of the fundamentals of personalising a headstone is including an inscription. Inscribing a monument is a process that combines elements of artistry with technical skills. We here at O'Connor Memorials have been inscribing headstones for over 100 years. As such, we have been part of this evolving process and watched it change over four generations of our family. This expertise means we often get questions regarding headstone inscriptions. To make this information that much more accessible to our clients, we have gathered some of the most common questions and compiled them below.

<h2> What do you put on a headstone inscription?</h2>

A headstone inscription typically includes the name of the person who has passed away, their birth and death dates, and a short message or epitaph. Here are some suggestions for what to include in a headstone inscription:

  1. Name: The person's full name should be included on the headstone.

  2. Birth and death dates: The birth and death dates of the person should also be included.

  3. Short message or epitaph: This can be a personal message or a quote representing the person's life or personality. It can be something they were known for, lived by, or simply a message from their loved ones. Some examples of short messages or epitaphs include:

  • Rest in peace

  • Forever in our hearts

  • In loving memory

  • Beloved husband/wife/father/mother/son/daughter

  • Gone but not forgotten

  • Always remembered

  • A life well lived

  • Too well loved ever to be forgotten

4. Symbols can also be included on a headstone to represent the person's life or beliefs—for example, a cross for a Christian.

Ultimately, the inscription on a headstone should be personal and meaningful to the person being memorialised and their loved ones.

How long should lettering on a headstone last?

The longevity of lettering on a headstone depends on various factors, such as the type of material used for the headstone, the quality of the lettering, and the environmental conditions in which the monument is located.

Generally, lettering on a headstone made from high-quality materials such as granite, bronze, or marble can last centuries if maintained properly. However, lower-quality materials such as sandstone or limestone may deteriorate more quickly.

The quality of the lettering itself can also affect its longevity. Deeply carved or etched lettering is generally more durable than surface-applied lettering, which can wear away over time.

Environmental factors such as exposure to sunlight, moisture, and temperature changes can also affect the longevity of lettering on a headstone. Headstones located in areas with harsher climates may require more frequent maintenance to keep the lettering legible.

In general, choosing high-quality materials and working with a reputable headstone maker is recommended to ensure that the lettering on a headstone lasts as long as possible. With proper maintenance, the lettering on a well-made headstone can last many years.

What colour should a headstone inscription be?

The colour of the headstone inscription will depend on the colour of the headstone and the personal preference of the family or individual making the decision. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Contrast: It's essential to choose an inscription colour that provides good contrast against the colour of the headstone. For example, a darker inscription may be easier to read if the headstone is light-coloured.

  2. Legibility: The colour of the inscription should be easy to read and not fade or wear away quickly. Black or dark grey lettering is commonly used because it provides good contrast and is easy to read.

  3. Personal preference: Ultimately, the colour of the inscription is a personal choice. Some people prefer to use a colour that is significant to the person being remembered or represents their personality or interests.

Some standard colours for headstone inscriptions include black, dark grey, gold, silver, white, and bronze. It's also possible to use multiple colours for the description or to incorporate designs or graphics into the headstone design.

What type of paint is used for headstone inscriptions?

The type of paint used for headstone inscriptions can vary depending on the material of the headstone and the preference of the person or company doing the inscription; however, as durable and long-lasting, enamel or acrylic-based paint is often used for headstone inscriptions.

Do you still have questions regarding headstone inscriptions? If so, then please get in touch with us today. Our suite of services also includes headstone restoration and a new headstone supply.

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