Many centuries ago, people were buried without a gravestone. They didn’t make grave markers until the 17th century and only in some regions of Europe. It was believed that it’s a privilege to be remembered by your loved ones even after death. The tradition of making gravestones spread through areas where stones were abundant, and it became popular in many cultures, including the Americans.
Why Marble Gravestones?
Gravestones are the ones that mark the burial place of a person in their graveyard. A gravestone can be made out of almost any material, but it’s usually made of wood, stone, or metal like steel and aluminum. Marble makes up one of the most popular natural stones used in gravestone designs of these three materials.
Marble has been in use since ancient Greece when Greek sculptors would carve statues out of marble. One reason why they valued marble so much is that it can be easily cut and carved. Marble gravestone designs are popular today because of their hardness and durability, lasting hundreds of years if properly maintained.
Types Of Marble Gravestone Designs
Marble gravestones come in various shapes and designs, and it all depends on what tradition is practiced in that area. The most classy and elegant designs among marble gravestones today include:
1. Flat Marble Gravestone Designs
Flat gravestones are the horizontal slabs that lie flush on the ground. They have a base to raise them from the ground in most cases. Greek and Roman gravestones were usually emplaced in a recessed rectangular stone structure called a ‘stepped.’ In other words, they didn’t look like flat gravestones at all.
A typical Greek or Roman gravestone is carved into a flat rectangular stone. It has the image of the deceased engraved into it, with their name and dates of birth and death. There are also two images on either side of them, depicting either one life-size figure or two figures beside each other.
2. Ogee Design Marble Gravestones
Most gravestones have curved marble headstones on top of them. The curves are usually gentle, and the edges of the top side of the slab can either be rounded or straight. An example is the ogee design (‘ogee’ refers to a double curve). It’s a double curve that resembles the letters ‘S’ or ‘M.’ This type of design appeared in the 18th century in Europe and became popular in America during the Victorian era.
3. Fluted Design Marble Gravestones
Another example of marble gravestone designs is those that have fluting on them. The term ‘fluting’ refers to vertically grooved lines traced down the sides of a rectangular stone slab. It can be done around the entire circumference of the slab or only near its upper or lower ends.
Fluted marble gravestones became popular in the 18th century in France, England, and America. It was believed that it served as a means for flowers to cling onto the slab without drilling holes into it. The flutings also provided an easy way to weatherproof the gravestone because water can’t accumulate easily.
4. Serpentine Designs On Marble Gravestone
Serpentine slab gravestones are usually slanted upwards. The ones with a round top resemble the shape of an umbrella, making it easy to spot even from afar. This type of design became popular in 17th century England, and it has been spotted elsewhere in Europe too. Another variation of this design is the Doric style, a triangular top.
5. Rectangular Slab Designs On Marble Gravestones
The rectangular slab designs remind people that most early gravestones were usually stone and set into walls. Headstones later replaced them. Although there are several shapes and designs to choose from, the most popular is a slab with a flat top.
It’s one of the oldest marble gravestones, made when Greece and Rome ruled over much of the world. It was mentioned earlier that most Roman gravestones were set into recessed rectangular structures. Today, most modern gravestones are slab-shaped, and they lie flush on the ground.
6. Celtic Cross Designs On Marble Gravestones
The Celtic cross is a marble gravestone with a rounded, decorated shaft separating from a straight part that ends with a cross. There are several design variations, but it’s usually traced from ancient Irish graves.
The first known Celtic cross dates back to the 8th century, and it was made by monks living in southwest Ireland. The cross is engraved with lines wrapping around some parts of the shaft. It also has a circle on top of it, which was probably used as a good luck charm because good omens were associated with the symbol.
7. Angel Design On Marble Gravestones
Angel headstones are one of the most traditional and classic designs used on marble gravestones. They’re commonly seen in New Orleans, Louisiana, and in cemeteries worldwide. Many families favor this marble gravestone style because it’s a great way to honor young children who’ve passed away. Many people opt for this design as a family memorial to honor the child’s memory along with their mother and father.
8. Double Monument Marble Gravestones
Double monuments are a beautiful way to honor two dearly departed family members together. They can be used for parents and children, spouses, or even siblings who’ve passed away. While it may not yet be the most popular design on marble gravestones, it’s a perfect choice for families looking to honor the memories of both people at once.
These are just a few examples of marble gravestone designs that you can use to memorialize your loved ones. The design you pick will depend on your taste and budget, so another important thing to consider is finding the right monument company to help with your order.