Your Guide to Common Headstone and Memorialization Terms

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Alecia Milano
Posted by Alecia Milano on April 9, 2024

Mausoleum. Burial Plot. Companion Memorial. 

These are just a few of the terms we use daily as memorial providers, but they often draw puzzled looks outside of the headstone industry. 

That's why we've crafted a useful guide to common headstone and memorialization terms for those interested in learning more. 


A permanent upright structure or marker designed in memory of a lost loved one. Typically made of granite, monuments serve as tangible symbols of remembrance and honor. 

Burial Plot 

A designated piece of land within a cemetery where a lost loved one is laid to rest. A burial plot is typically purchased by an individual or family to serve as the final resting place for themselves or their loved ones. 

>>> What You Need to Know Before Choosing a Burial Plot

Memorial Provider  

Also known as a monument company, a memorial provider is a specialized business that offers products and services related to memorialization and commemoration of lost loved ones. These providers specialize in creating and supplying various memorial products, including headstones, plaques, statues and other personalized monuments. 


Headstone Preplanning   

The process by which individuals or families make arrangements in advance for the design, purchase and installation of a headstone before it is actually needed. This proactive approach allows individuals to make important decisions regarding their final resting place and memorialization preferences while they are still living, rather than leaving these decisions to be made by surviving family members after their passing. 

>>> Does Preplanning Your Headstone Save Money? 

Granite Headstone 

A type of memorial marker commonly used to commemorate the final resting place of a deceased individual. It is crafted from granite, a durable and long-lasting natural stone that is widely favored for its beauty, strength and resistance to weathering and erosion. 

MM_Granite Color Grid - 2023

>>> 23 Granite Headstone Colors For Your Loved One’s Memorial 

Bronze Headstone 

A type of memorial marker that consists of a bronze plaque affixed to a granite or concrete base. The bronze plaque serves as the main component of the headstone, featuring inscriptions, artwork, and other personalized details that commemorate the life and memory of a lost loved one.

Balint - Bronze Memorial - Sunset Memorial Park

>>> 3 Little-Known Facts About Bronze Memorials 

Cremation Jewelry  

A specialized type of memorial keepsake designed to hold a small portion of cremated remains, also known as cremains or ashes. Cremation jewelry serves as a meaningful and personal way for individuals to memorialize a loved one who has been cremated. 

Cremation Jewelry Case


An urn is a container specifically designed to hold the cremated remains of a lost loved one. Cremation urns come in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials and styles, providing families with a range of options to choose from based on their preferences and needs. 

0124 - urns

>>> 3 Ways To Make a Memorial Urn Special and Unique 


A large, above-ground structure designed to hold the remains of one or more lost loved ones. It typically consists of a series of crypts or compartments where caskets or urns are interred. Mausoleums can be found in cemeteries or as standalone structures and are often constructed from durable materials like granite. 

Covelli - Mausoleum - New Landscaping

>>> A Guide to 5 Different Types of Mausoleums 


A structure or wall specifically designed to hold cremation urns. It contains niches or compartments where urns are placed, allowing families to memorialize their loved ones in a centralized location within a cemetery or memorial garden. 

Chizmar - Family Memorial - Columbarium

>>> The History and Benefits of a Columbarium 

Burial Vault  

A sturdy container typically made of concrete or metal that is placed in the ground to encase a casket. Burial vaults provide added protection for the casket from environmental elements and help maintain the integrity of the ground. 

>>> What You Need to Know About Burial Vaults 

Memorial Bench 

A type of outdoor seating often placed in parks, gardens or public spaces as a tribute to a lost loved one or group. These benches may feature plaques, inscriptions or dedications in honor of the person being memorialized. 


Cemetery Restoration  

The process of repairing, refurbishing or renovating a memorial marker or structure to restore its original appearance and integrity. This may involve cleaning, repainting, re-engraving or replacing damaged components to preserve the memorial for future generations. 

Cleaned Statue Before and After

>>> The Cemetery Restoration Process, Step-by-Step 


The process of incising letters, designs or other decorative elements into a surface to create a permanent inscription. Engraving is commonly used on headstones, plaques and other memorial markers to personalize and commemorate the individual being honored. 

Hand Etching   

A traditional engraving technique where skilled artisans use handheld tools to carve or etch designs, letters or patterns into a surface by hand. Hand etching adds a personal touch and artisanal quality to memorial markers, creating unique and custom designs. 


Laser Etching   

A modern engraving technique that uses laser technology to create detailed designs that are burned onto various materials. Laser etching allows for highly customizable and intricate engraving designs to be applied to memorial markers with precision and accuracy. 

>>> Headstone Engraving Vs Headstone Etching: What’s the Difference? 


A brief inscription or verse engraved on a memorial marker, typically a headstone or tombstone, to honor and remember the deceased individual. Epitaphs often convey sentiments of love, remembrance and tribute and may include religious or philosophical references. 

>>> Memorial Quotes: The Ultimate List for Headstone Design 

Lawn-Level Headstone 

Also known as a flat or flush marker, a lawn-level headstone is a low-profile memorial that sits level with the ground surface. These headstones are typically made of granite or bronze and provide a subtle and understated tribute while allowing for easy maintenance of the surrounding lawn. 

Seabold - Lawn Level Memorial - St. Mary_s Cemetery Grafton

Bevel Headstone 

A type of memorial that features a slightly raised or sloped face, with the top surface angled downward from back to front. Bevel headstones are typically installed with the back edge flush with the ground, allowing for easy maintenance and visibility. 

Krieger - Bevel Memorial

Slant Headstone 

A memorial that features a sloped face, with the top surface angled from back to front. Slant headstones provide a distinctive and elegant tribute while offering increased visibility and ease of maintenance. 

Haefke - Slant Memorial - Canfield Cemetery

Upright Headstone  

This type of memorial is what most think of when they hear the term “headstone.” It’s a tall, upright marker that stands vertically above the ground. These headstones provide a prominent and visible tribute to the deceased individual. 

Jimenez - Upright Monument

Companion Memorial  

A memorial designed to honor two individuals, such as spouses or partners, who are buried together in the same grave or next to each other. Companion memorials typically feature two separate inscriptions or designs, one for each individual, and may include shared elements or symbols that represent their relationship. 

Sonego - Upright Monument - Holy Cross Cemetery-1

Memorial Vase 

A container or receptacle is often incorporated into a headstone to hold flowers or floral arrangements. Memorial vases can be made of various materials and be removable or integrated into the monument's design. 


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