Types of memorial headstones in Calgary Trufla Trufla November 17, 2023

Types of memorial headstones in Calgary

Types of Memorial Headstones in Calgary

In The City of Calgary, where the historic Canadian frontier intertwines with modernity, memorial headstones stand as enduring tributes to the lives and legacies of our past and present. This article serves as a guide to understanding the diverse world of memorial headstones in Calgary, offering insights into the importance of granite stones, craftsmanship techniques for personalizing memorials as well as a general overview of common headstone styles to consider. At Sunset Stone, we understand the importance of commemorating those we hold dear, and we take pride in crafting headstones with meticulous precision and genuine care.

Granite Headstones: A Testament to Durability

 Granite Headstones vs other types of stones

Granite is celebrated for its remarkable durability and timeless elegance and it granite ranks among the most favored choices for memorial headstones in Calgary. Unlike the past historical monument stones like sandstone, slate or marble, granite is now considered the preferred cemetery headstone product for many reasons. 

A historic sandstone monument

A historic sandstone monument

Sandstone and slate monuments are naturally porous stones, moisture can enter the stones combined with the freezing and thawing conditions of a Calgary winter can break a porous stone in two. You may also have seen how pollution and acid rain can deteriorate the surface of marble. Granite, on the other hand, has an innate ability to withstand the elements thus ensuring that the carvings and inscribed memories endure for generations.

Granite finishes and colors

Granite finishes and colors

As you explore the variety of granite finishes and color options, note that specific granite colors depend on the continent from which they were quarried. The array of granite colors can range across the color spectrum from: tan, red, pink, brown to blue or green. The options are endless. So never feel limited by the color selection when shopping for a headstone. Monument dealers (like Sunset Memorial & Stone) who have a strong supply chain will be able to source any granite color or finish you wish. Whether you prefer classic designs or intricate custom engravings, there are a vast spectrum of customization carvings and finishes that can be applied to creating any granite headstone. Granite headstone colors allow families the opportunity to create a tribute that truly captures their loved one’s essence in a personal and meaningful way.

Carved Headstones: Timeless Beauty

Carved Headstones

In the realm of memorial headstones, craftsmanship holds a position of immense significance. Carved headstones are available in an infinite variety of shapes that epitomize timeless beauty. The skilled hands of our artisans breathe life into intricate designs through creative design and attention to detail. The granite headstone design process can be a meaningful and rewarding way to honor the departed.

If you would like to explore design options to highlight or accentuate a piece of graphic art on a carved headstone. Do not hesitate to inquire with our sales team about our wonderful design service. Enjoy the process of working collaboratively with our talented graphic artists who can create high-level graphics to convey your vision. Our design team can show you how best to accentuate the monument with shape carving examples revealed in monuments on our showroom floor. They will also be happy to share with you the artistic advantages of employing different sandblasting techniques like “flashing” and “V Cuts” to add texture to the artwork.

Custom Carving on Headstones: A Tribute in Craftsmanship

Headstones with carved detail

For those who seek a distinctive and artistic approach to memorial design, there are various carving techniques that can be applied to engraving granite memorials. You may have seen some of these carving techniques on many headstones in Calgary cemeteries. For example, there are terms we use to focus on the degree of sandblasting removal or carving detail. One granite finish style is called a “Speckled Finish,” where 25% or 50% of the polished granite is partially removed. Another sandblasting technique is called a “Heavy Flash.” This finish requires a more intense sandblasting technique that thoroughly removes the polished granite layer to a smooth finish. A Heavy Flash will add a smother surface texture and contrast in various degrees of sandblasting levels. A “Regular Carved” finish removes the entire polished granite sections of the monument to reveal a naturally lighter more textured granite reveal.

painted vs naturally exposed granite and wet granite vs dry granite

painted vs naturally exposed granite and wet granite vs dry granite

Once the sandblasting process is complete you will have a choice of 2 artistic directions to consider. The first is to add memorial paint to the unpolished granite sections that were sandblasted, or the second option is to leave the sandblasted revealed areas naturally exposed. The only difference will be that when the monument is wet, the flashed unpainted sections will not show the contrast as vividly as the painted version. The above images demonstrate how water can affect a sandblasted section of a polished granite stone when it is painted versus being left naturally.


In addition, some clients like to punctuate the sandblasted areas with even more customization by adding a light mist of paint that adheres to the monument’s revealed sections. There is a wide array of monument paint colors available, so if you are interested in adding a punch of color to a monument, simply ask our graphic artists to provide you with some complimentary color options.

For those who prefer a little sparkle, the bronze memorial plaques can provide another unique artistic direction. The rich, lustrous finish of bronze offers a striking contrast to traditional stone headstones. Any monument can be adorned with bronze plaques bearing the name and vital information of the departed, offering a distinctive way to remember and honor loved ones in Calgary.

Choosing the Right Memorial Headstone

Choosing the Right Memorial Headstone

Selecting the ideal memorial headstone is a deeply personal endeavor. It encompasses not only the choice of material but also considerations of design, size, and customization options. Families in Calgary are encouraged to explore the diverse range of headstones available, ensuring that the chosen memorial is a genuine reflection of the individual being remembered.

If you are interested in exploring our website or speaking with one of our sales representatives, come explore the various memorial styles. We carry Flat Markers, Hickeys, Upright Memorials, Crown Monuments, Pillow Memorials, and custom double or single-size headstones that will accommodate the cemetery’s regulations and meet your vision. If you cannot find the monument on the showroom floor, inquire about how we can create custom-carved designs. Check out our YouTube Channel to see our showroom from the comfort of your own home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Memorial Headstones

Choosing a memorial headstone involves evaluating granite colors, design, size, customization options, and adherence to cemetery regulations. Understanding your budget early will also help to guide your decisions. It is crucial to select a tribute that resonates with the personality and life story of the departed. Every monument style can provide some level of personalization.

Indeed, Calgary cemeteries impose specific regulations concerning the size, type, and design of memorial headstones allowed in each cemetery section. It is advisable to consult with cemetery management to ensure compliance. In addition, our monument sales representatives are familiar with cemetery regulations for The City of Calgary cemeteries and the surrounding community cemeteries. They be happy to help you through the process to ensure the headstone you select will be approved by the cemetery.

Absolutely, customization is a hallmark of memorial headstones. At Sunset Memorial & Stone, families are encouraged to collaborate with our talented graphic artists and skilled craftsmen to create a personalized monument that captures the essence of their loved one’s life. Along with creating a unique monument, customized artwork, graphics, porcelain photography and font details can add high level design to any memorial.

In conclusion, creating a personalized memorial headstone in Alberta is easily achievable. At Sunset Memorial & Stone, we offer a diverse array of granite memorial styles, and offer custom design services if you wish to create a more personalized monument. These tributes endure as symbols of remembrance and honor, seamlessly bridging the past and the present. As families search for ideas for how best to commemorate their loved ones, the many cemeteries in Calgary are a perfect resource for memorial headstone designs to consider. Take a walk through the city’s historic and new cemetery sections for inspirational ideas to share with our team to help convey your vision and direction. Visit our showroom to explore the variety of styles and granite colors available. Let us help you during this personal and meaningful design journey.

Take Action Today: Get a Quote. Your journey to finding the perfect memorial headstone begins with a choice, and we are here to guide you in making that choice a reality.

Cemeteries in Calgary: Queens Park Cemetery, Prairie Sky Cemetery, Edenbrook Cemetery, Union Cemetery, Burnsland Cemetery, St. Mary’s Cemetery, Pine Creek Cemetery, St. Patrick Cemetery, Mountain View Cemetery, Muslim Cemetery of Calgary, Beth Tzedec Memorial Park, St. Paul’s Anglican Cemetery

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