Monday, December 16, 2013

Granite Hardscape Honors Veterans

Earlier this year, the Atlanta History Center dedicated its newly expanded Veterans Park. Organizers scattered soil that came from battlefields around the world. Eagle Granite was commissioned to create 6 large granite seals to be installed in the new park, including one to house the time capsule protecting this very special soil.

The soil was gathered from every American battlefield, from the Revolutionary War to Afghanistan. They also included sands from Iwo Jima, desert sand from Iraq, battlefields from the South Pacific, and even small pieces of the Berlin Wall. Soil was also gathered from battlefield sites of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Spanish American War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Iraq and Afghanistan. They also included soil from Arlington National Cemetery.

One third of the soil is buried in a stainless steel capsule under an 8 foot round granite seal of the United States. Another third was scattered during the Memorial Day ceremony, and the rest will be kept at the History Center. The granite seal of the United States is 4 inches thick and was carved and lettered at the Eagle Granite manufacturing plant in Elberton.

There are also five more granite seals that measure 6 feet in diameter. They are also 4 inches thick and were manufactured along with the 8 ft. US Medallion at Eagle Granite. These 5 medallions represent the five service branches, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and are embedded throughout the park’s concrete walkways. All 6 granite civic memorial emblems were manufactured from Blue Ridge Granite, provided by Eagle Granite’s quarry located in Northeast Georgia.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Brief History of the Cross

The cross has been used by many religions, but most notably in Christianity. It is a representation of the division of the world into four elements (also called cardinal points) or the union of the concepts of divinity (the vertical line) and the world (the horizontal line). The word derives from the Latin word "crux" a Roman torture device used for crucifixion. The word was introduced to the English in the 10th century - in the execution of Jesus.

It is not known when the first cross image was made. Many cross-shaped cave drawings have been discovered, dating back to the earliest times of human development. Their use can be traced throughout Celtic and Germanic cultures in Europe. Celtic coins minted many centuries before the Christian era had an entire side showing the cross symbol, sometimes with the cardinal points marked by concave depressions. Other coins depicted the cross with a fern leaf, held by a rider on a horse, often referred to as a Tree of Life symbol.

During the first two centuries of Christianity, the cross was rarely seen, as it depicted a gruesome method of public execution. A symbol similar to the cross, the staurogram, was used to abbreviate the Greek word for cross in very early New Testament manuscripts. The extensive adoption of the cross as Christian iconographic symbol began to arise again towards the 4th century. Interestingly enough, the symbol of the crucifix, a cross upon which an image of Christ is present, is not known to have been used until the 6th century AD.

In contemporary Christianity, the cross is a symbol of the atonement and reminds Christians of God's love in sacrificing his own son for humanity. It represents Jesus' victory over sin and death, since it is believed that through his death and resurrection he conquered death itself. Throughout the centuries, other symbolic carvings and patterns have been added as embellishments to the cross itself.

Monday, November 18, 2013

What to Ask for When Designing Your Memorial

Flat Carving is also called sandblasting. No carving or shaping is done to add further detail to the artwork. The outline and some features are cut directly into the surface to reveal the design as flat or one dimensional.

Shape Carving also starts out with sandblasting. The outline of the design is cut into the surface and the interior elements are further shaped by hollowing out certain areas to create a relief look to the design. Shape carving is generally used for flowers and the leaves of plants and trees as well as the hands and wings of angels and saints to add even more detail to the design.

Sculpting or Hand Carving into the surface of the stone is called Bas Relief. Done by a sculptor, the shape of the image can be touched and the depth can be felt. An image can be sculpted within a recessed area "niche" or sculpted out of the whole stone to provide a 3-dimensional "full round" design. The distinction between high and low relief is somewhat subjective, and the two are very often combined in a single work.

A bas-relief or "low relief" is a projecting image with a shallow overall depth, for example used on coins, on which all images are in low relief. It is a technique which requires less work, and is therefore cheaper to produce, as less of the background needs to be removed in a carving.

 These can also be used in combination with each other, depending upon the overall design of the monument. Contact a monument manufacturer for more information on any of these options and for professional help in designing your memorial.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Funerary Design Components

Wondering what to put on your monument?


In most cases you will have the deceased's name, date of birth, and date of death sandblasted or etched on the monument, along with a personal message or prayer. You may also consider adding pieces of funerary art, to add even more personalization to the granite. Many people also like to inset a photograph of the deceased in a brass or bronze frame.

Monuments usually sit as "uprights" with heart-shaped, rounded, gabled, square or other shaped tops. Decorating with memento mori (symbolic reminders of death) such as skulls or winged skulls, winged cherub heads, and heavenly crowns began sometime in the 18th century. Throughout the years, more elaborate allegorical figures were added, such as Old Father Time, or emblems of trade or status, or even important life events of the deceased, including how they may have passed.

Sandblasted and etched components (also called "emblems") are often used on upright and flat monuments in today's cemeteries. These emblems indicate recurring themes in both faith and life.

Here are a few Examples:
  • Anchor - Steadfast hope
  • Angel of grief - Sorrow
  • Arch - Rejoined with partner in Heaven
  • Birds - The soul
  • Book - Faith, wisdom
  • Cherub - Divine wisdom or justice
  • Column - Noble life
  • Cross, anchor and Bible - Trials, victory and reward
  • Crown - Reward and glory
  • Dove - Purity, love and Holy Spirit
  • Hands - A relation or partnership
  • Heart - Devotion
  • Hourglass - Time and its swift flight
  • Ivy - Faithfulness, memory, and undying friendship
  • Lamb - Innocence
  • Lamp - Immortality
  • Laurel - Victory, fame
  • Lily - Purity and resurrection
  • Oak - Strength
  • Olive branch - Forgiveness, and peace
  • Palms - Martyrdom, or victory over death
  • Peacock - Eternal life
  • Pillow - a deathbed, eternal sleep


Greek letters and abbreviations may also be used:
  • \alpha \omega (alpha and omega) - The beginning and the end
  • \chi \rho (chi rho) - The first letters spelling the name of Christ
  • IHS - Stylized version of iota-eta-sigma, a Greek abbreviation of Jesus
For more information, please contact our marketing department to access our entire 204 page Component Catalog.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Flat Grass Markers and Grave Stones

Originally, a tombstone was the stone lid of a stone coffin, or the coffin itself, and a gravestone was the stone slab that was laid over a grave. Now all three terms are used for markers placed at the head of the grave. Some graves also contain footstones to mark the end of the grave. Sometimes full sections of granite coping are coordinated with the marker to outline the entire perimeter of the grave or family plot. If footstones are used, they are rarely inscribed with more than the deceased's initials and year of death, or sometimes they reference the cemetery plot number. In some UK cemeteries, the only grave marker is placed at the foot of the grave.

A cemetery may follow national codes of practice or independently prescribe the size and use of certain materials, especially in a conservation area. Others may require stones of a certain shape or position to facilitate grass-cutting by mower. Granite, marble and other kinds of stone are usually created, installed, and repaired by monumental masons. Cemeteries suggest regular inspections and maintenance, as stones may settle and become uneven or may simply become overgrown and lost or vandalized.

The information on the marker generally includes the name of the deceased and their date of birth and death. Such information can be useful to genealogists and local historians and future generations of family. Larger cemeteries may require a discreet reference code as well to help accurately fix the location for maintenance.

Many different designs and granite colors are available for grass markers. Vases, ceramic portraits, bronze embellishments, laser etching and colored litho can be used depending on the final design. They are available in various thicknesses and with multiple finishing options. Families can also purchase special cremation containers and bury the cremains under the marker itself-making these a great choice for burial or cremation.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mausoleum Choices for Families

Community mausoleums, commonly found in cemeteries throughout the US, are large buildings designed to provide above-ground entombment. Sharing the cost of the mausoleum with other people makes it more cost-effective than private mausoleums for many families. Other families choose a more private, though more expensive, mausoleum constructed or delivered to their family estate plot in the cemetery. They house one or more "crypts" which are designed to hold casketed remains. Following a casket entombment, the crypt is sealed, and a granite or marble front "door" is attached. The door is usually engraved or sandblasted with personal or religious components, as well as the family name, names of the deceased and birth and death dates.

Mausoleums come in several standard sizes and colors. They are available domestically and as imports from overseas. The cost for a mausoleum can go from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending upon the size, materials, statuary and other additions to the construction of the family estate. They can be single sized for only one enternment, side by side or stacked one on top of the other for companion crypts. Families not choosing a walk-in family estate type mausoleum, may ask for several crypts stacked two, three, or even four high in one large family granite mausoleum.

A mausoleum encloses a burial chamber either wholly above ground or within a burial vault below the granite. Modern mausolea may also act as columbaria (a type of mausoleum for cremated remains) with additional niches to hold cremation urns. There really are no limits if you choose to have your mausoleum custom manufactured. Many granite retailers can help you with this process, and often have catalogs of designs ready to ship to the cemetery for those on a tight budget for time.

For more information on mausoleum and family estate designs visit estates.html

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cremation Gardens

The first step in your cremation process is going to be to choose the urn that will hold your loved ones ashes. Crematories require that a suitable container be used to contain your loved one after the cremation process. The urn is then placed inside a columbarium or buried in the ground with a marker, cremation monument or pedestal to house and protect the urn itself.

A gathering of friends, family and/or clergy provides a meaningful personalized tribute, as well as support for the living. This is something that can also be ongoing (annually or several times a year) within the cremation garden setting. Close family may wish to come and remember the deceased throughout the year. Sitting areas, benches and landscaping should all be thoughtfully planned out and provide a safe, comfortable and private place to memorialize.

There are many options from which to choose when selecting a final resting place for your loved one’s urn, because cremation memorialization can take any number of forms. Many cemeteries have created areas specifically for lasting remembrance. Cremated remains may be permanently memorialized in a columbarium, ground-burial area or specially designed cremation garden.

A cremation garden provides a final resting place for your loved one’s cremated remains. It is a designated area of the cemetery that may vary from a simple urn garden to a more elaborate area featuring elegant landscapes, graceful water designs and stunning granite monuments. The space can provide a beautiful and comforting experience for the ones who are looking for comfort in the wake of their loss.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Etched Granite Memorials

Laser etching is a wonderful way to have a pictured memory transferred to granite. Computer generated laser etchings provide remarkable details from original photos (copies are not recommended). They also give you the ability to enhance, crop, re-size or transform your pictures. Images are often morphed together to create a more personalized scene.

Hand etching dates back to the early 1900's and was done by hand using primative tools of the day.  Currently, artists utilize modern day techniques in the hand etching process. Hand etching is useful when creating scenes and designs where photos may not exist. It is also used to enhance laser etched designs; allowing the hand etcher to go back in and provide more detail and add color(s).

Black granite is the most recommended granite color for etching. The dark color will help show greater contrast and render a more detailed etching. Etchings can be a great way to enhance your memorial-by even adding small embellishments such as portraits, emblems, logos, pets and more. You can also have your etching colorized. Specially manufactured litho paint colors are designed for use with granite. Color etchings are hand painted, and treated as artwork, rather than just adding areas of flat color.

Color can last years on an outdoor monument, and can be touched up or repainted as needed. As paint wears, the black and white etching remains. Color fastness can vary due to weather conditions and location of the monument (for example, facing the afternoon sun every day can fade colors faster than being in the shade). Every hand etching is an individual work of art that is skillfully created by a master craftsman and should be protected as much as possible from the elements to maintain color intensity and etched details.

Imagine your cherished memories transformed into a unique and personal memorial. Each stone is individually crafted by an artist who works from your provided photos or digital images. If providing digital images, high resolution-300dpi files are recommended.

For more information on laser and hand etching granite memorials, please visit monuments.html

Friday, August 23, 2013

Custom Shaped Granite Memorials

There are many memorial dealers throughout the US that offer standard granite monuments such as markers, bevels, serp tops, ledgers and other "usual" die and base combinations. But for some, their last wish is to stand out in the cemetery, not just blend in with the other grave markers. Do you want your memorial to mimic the other stones resting in the cemetery?
If you said no, then a stone manufacturer could be your new best friend! The ability to quarry unique sizes and shapes in raw granite allows total customization of the rock. A sculptor and client can often work directly on the specifics of the project together. Once the conceptual part of the monument is complete, the project becomes a collaborative effort between the manufacturer and the family member, often assisted by service couselors within the funeral home or cemetery. 

Suggestions from the client include changes to scale, texture, color, shape and finish-and are often very helpful in drafting out the custom piece. Many drawings and photos are provided throughout the sculpting process to insure the final result meets the family's expectations and original vision.

The client's expectations are relayed to the sculptor, and after cutting and shaping, the flow of the monument through final "finishing" areas within the plant, keeps the project moving forward on the manufacturers projected schedule. The resulting memorial is one that will stand out among other stone memorials in any chosen resting place. And can be accessorized with matching (multiple or stepped) bases and with single or double round and square vases.

Cemeteries and funeral counselors may be able to help answer questions that you may have. Be sure to choose a granite manufacturer that can offer previous examples, photos or drawings to help you through the creation process.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Some Basics for Funeral Home Signs

The architectural plans were finished and followed when you built your funeral home. And whether you chose a gable roof, cast-stone columns, or a square tower with masonry accents, you've managed to create a warm and welcoming place for bereaved families. But don't overlook the importance of designing and installing a coordinating sign to welcome visitors and market your business. Whether letter choices on the sign are serif or san-serif, roman or script, it should collectively be a reflection of you, and your commitment to those that you serve. A manufacturing company or a drafter/designer can help you put the pieces together.

Placing a coat of arms, for example, on the sign can reflect the fact that your family has passed down this profession for generations; leaving families with a greater sense of trust in their time of need. Or maybe you've just completed a large-scale renovation and want your sign to reflect the modern updates to your facility. A redesign might be needed to update older (and potentially weathered or damaged) signs. Granite is a good material choice for signage because of the strength and durability that comes from solid rock.

Whatever you choose to include on your sign, make sure the address is clearly visible (if included) and be sure the overall size of the sign fits both the space it's occupying and the surrounding space(s). Also ensure that the size is large enough to be easily read from different directions, and by cars driving past at varying speeds. Make sure color choices provide a nice visual contrast and be sure to include landscape lighting, so your investment will be visible at night.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cremation Memorialization Options

The number of people choosing cremation has risen to include more than 40 percent of all funerals throughout the US each year. Religious beliefs, family customs and ethnic cultures can all be contributing factors for the vast number of families choosing cremation over tradition ground burial today.

The cost for cremation can also be considerably less than traditional burial funerals. With everything environmentally required for a traditional burial, families sometimes have no choice when it comes to the financial aspect of paying for the funeral. They inevitably have to choose the less expensive service.

No matter what the reason, the options for memorialization after cremation are diverse. And whether in a cemetery or on private land, granite and marble products are lasting, touching tributes to loved ones. They can hold cremated ashes, or retain their empty spaces, the choice is up to the family. But many are designed to hold small containers, such as granite urns or cremation boxes. A columbarium is a good choice for families wishing to be kept together, and can be manufactured with several doors to access each holding area or "niche" to place individual urns.

Benches can also be used for holding cremated remains. Many are designed with core holes to keep the remains in separate and sealed areas within the bench. Other designs have niche openings, similar to the columbarium style of memorial, which holds the actual urn. Either cremation memorial choice can be sandblasted or laser etched (usually on the niche doors themselves) to include family member names, birth and death dates, personal artwork and epitaphs, to further personalize each granite or marble memorial.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Granite and Marble Cemetery Statues

For centuries, man has sculpted marble and granite as a form of self expression, to further the study of mankind and the body, to represent mythical creatures and animals, and to create images of religious figures. These pieces often adorned places of worship, funeral spaces and cemetery properties.

Not only can sculpture be realistic in its execution, it can also be spiritual and emotional, depending upon the subject of the sculpture. Funeral statues often emit powerful feelings of grief and grieving; or loss and love taken away. For many families choosing to use memorial sculpture, it is a way to honor the deceased, while also helping them through the grieving process.

The time it takes to draw, design, commission and sculpt a statue can give great comfort to someone that is grieving the loss of their loved one. This process can last a few months or even years, depending on many different variables. But when the statue is finally completed, and placed at the memorial site, it can become a symbol of closure. Many people grieve pets in the same way. You can find marble and granite animal statues at pet grave sites or at the owner's grave site, suggesting the pet and owner will be reunited.

Of great importance in Chinese myth and culture, the tiger is one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. Also in various Chinese art and martial art, the tiger is depicted as an earth symbol. Tigers are admired for their great strength, ferocity and grace and are also considered guardian deities. Tiger statutes are usually seen at monuments, temples and palaces, to help ward off evil spirits.

Choosing or designing a memorial statue can be overwhelming for most people. Cemeteries and funeral counselors may be able to help answer questions that you may have. Look for a seasoned artist that is knowledgeable in funerary art and choose a granite or marble manufacturer that can offer catalogs, photos or drawings to help you through the sculpting process.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Creating Cemetery Headstones

Look around any cemetery and you'll notice monuments - from the simplest of grave markers - to some of the most beautiful and intricate granite memorials manufactured. As you can imagine, granite is not an easy material to work with. To begin with, it's harvested in large granite quarries that can be very dangerous to work in. Not to mention the shear weight of these large sections of rock make it difficult to quarry with the need for heavy equipment, for moving the blocks, and heavy trucks for transport to the plants.

At the plant, the granite rocks are configured into smaller, more manageable pieces. The granite is cut, broken or sawn dependent upon what pieces can be extracted from within each large section of granite.

Once the smaller sections are created, the granite goes into various finishing stages, where much of the work is done by skilled craftsman and much of it still by hand. From removing extra pieces around the edges to create a rougher finish, or removing enough granite to create a recessed area for a QR piece or a ceramic portrait, the granite makes its way through the plant.

Once the finish and shape of the monument has been established, the granite is then sent to sandblasting where lettering and flat designs are added. These designs are based upon graphic files created by a drafting team of designers, who supply templates for the design of the memorial.

Manufacturing a granite memorial is obviously much more complex, but this is a shortened version so you can see some of the workmanship and talent that goes in to each and every granite memorial manufactured here at Eagle. From quarry to work of art...the process is a highly specialized and organized process!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Memorial Bench Ideas

A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for the memory of something, usually a person (who has died) or an event. Popular forms of memorials include landmarks, objects or art such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and even entire parks are designed to serve as memorial places of remembrance. Benches can be incorporated into the design and are often personalized for multiple life events, historical events or for individuals themselves.

Many people plant garden memorials in honor of a loved one. The garden can be filled with flowers, statues, benches and personal items from the deceased, to become an area of peace, solitude, and reflection. Whatever memory you are hoping to create, there are many ways to memorialize that cherished remembrance with memorial benches.

Perhaps your memory includes a place, such as where you camped growing up, or where you played a hobby or sport together? Memorial benches can be personalized and donated to the property where these memories remain. Families usually hope to create unique and personal areas to visit time and time again.

When someone passes, the family may request that a memorial gift be given to a designated charity, or that a tree be planted in memory of the person. Sometimes, when a student has died, the memorials are placed in the form of a scholarship, to be awarded to high-achieving students in future years, or in tree plantings on school grounds. The idea of a granite memorial bench to sit quietly under a planting can add an extra special touch to tree memorial gift giving.