1. Memorial Size and Shape
Depending on the memorial style you choose, the size and shape can drastically change the headstone price. Ranges can span from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, based on the size and intricacy of the overall stone.
Below we outline headstone starting price estimates for each type of memorial we offer at Milano Monuments. All costs are separated into single-person, companion or family monument pricing, and can increase based on a number of factors.
Lawn-level: Often referred to as the “basic stone,” lawn-level memorials sit flush with the ground.
- Individual: $599+
- Companion: $1,199+
Bevel: Eloquently called a “pillow,” bevel memorials rise a few inches off the ground with a sloping shape.
- Individual: $900+
- Companion: $1,700+
Slant: Slant memorials are cut at a steep angle to allow inscriptions to be seen from a distance.
- Individual: $1,250+
- Companion: $1,800+
Bronze: Often mounted on a granite base, bronze memorials sit flush with or are slightly raised off the ground.
- Individual: $895+
- Companion: $2,490+
Upright Monument: The largest of these options, upright monuments are an impressive site in any cemetery and can be shaped and sculpted to best fit your family’s needs.
- Individual: $1,900+
- Companion: $2,500+
- Family: $3,995+
2. Type of Headstone Granite
Although it may not seem obvious to the naked eye, all granite is not created equal. Granite is available in different varieties, colors and grades. The processes that form granite result in unique stone characteristics.
In terms of color and variety, those that are more readily available to a region, often gray, are less costly. Blue pearl or aurora red are examples of exquisite colors that are unique and, thus, reflected in the price.
In addition to granite color, families will also want to consider the grade of granite—or the material's general durability, density and structural integrity.
Not only will higher grades withstand the elements, their suitability for cutting, crafting and finishing will be higher. Lower grade granite is prone to chipping, degrading and discoloration over time.
Unlike color, granite grade may not be as obvious, so be sure to ask your memorial provider about it.
Milano Monuments is a proud partner of Rock of Ages. This is a type of granite only available through a select number of Authorized Cemetery Monument Retailers—Milano Monuments included. All Rock of Ages granite comes with a Perpetual Warranty so in the event of a granite defect, this warranty passes on through generations.
3. Headstone Design Details
While headstone size and granite color are important elements to consider, what makes a memorial truly unique are the design details and craftsmanship that cover the stone.
Fortunately, the range of design options available for your loved one’s headstone are as vast as your imagination. Subject to the chosen cemetery’s limitations and rules, almost any artistic design can be carved or crafted into granite or bronze. Below are a few design details to consider.
To achieve different lettering appearances on headstones, a variety of engraving and etching methods can be used. Headstone lettering styles vary in price and include laser engraved, skin-traced, V-sunk, and square-sunk, to name a few.
Ceramic or Porcelain Photos
Ceramic or porcelain photos are typically used as an alternative to hand or laser etching to put an individual or family portrait on a memorial. The cost starts at $265 and increases depending on size, finish and color.
Sculptures or Carvings
One feature that stands out more than any individual word or symbol is a sculpture or carving. These can be set directly into the stone or joined to the side or top of a placed stone. While sculptures and carvings may be more costly, the end result will be remembered for generations to come.
A vase complements a specialized memorial. By adding one or multiple vases to a headstone, fresh and colorful flowers can be placed for special occasions. In-ground vases start at $65 and vases that are attached to the memorial start at $165. Price fluctuates based on the color, style and size selected. Before choosing a memorial vase, make sure to check your chosen cemetery’s rules and regulations as some do not allow specific vases.
4. Headstone Personalization Elements
In some ways, the most personal part of designing a memorial for yourself or a loved one is deciding on the unique words, symbols and other details that will occupy space around the name and date.
The more intricate you get with personalization elements (e.g. multiple photos, lengthier inscriptions), the more your headstone will cost. Below are the most common personalization tokens families use when designing their loved one’s headstone.
Memorial inscriptions are engraved on headstones to portray the significance and memory of those who have passed. Depending on the lettering, size of the stone and length of the inscription, the headstone prices can vary.
Symbols or Images
Many families choose to have a laser- or hand-etched image of their loved one or a scene on their memorial. Laser etching replicates a picture exactly as it appears on the stone—this is the more affordable option of the two.
However, hand etching is a unique and highly specialized skill that adds incredible character and customization to a memorial. Talented hand etchers can take a scenic picture or multiple images of a person and create a one-of-a-kind portrait.
5. Cemetery Service Charge
As with any product, the more businesses or people involved in the process, the more costs the customer experiences.
For example, many cemeteries offer to coordinate the purchase of the headstone. Out of convenience, many families may choose to take this offer.
However, going directly to a memorial provider removes unnecessary steps in the process. It also enables families to choose from all of the monument provider’s offerings, not just the limited selection a cemetery can offer. An experienced memorial provider can also provide you with the memorialization information you need to make the best decision for your family.
While prices may be comparable when working with a cemetery or a memorial provider, professional memorialists can offer their expertise and broader capabilities as you consider memorial options.
Calculate Your Memorial Cost
Want to better understand how much your memorial or headstone might cost? Use our Interactive Cost Guide to explore the various memorial costs, allowing you to learn more about the personalization options that matter to you.
Editor's note: This blog post was originally published in 2019. We updated it in 2020 to be more comprehensive and current.