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- types of stone used



marble headstone


Hard, dense crystalline or granular metamorphic limestone 
White when new or in new breaks, but older marbles may appear gray from soiling 
Capable of taking a high polish, yellows with age 
May have veins of gray or gold 
Commercial marble is any lime carbonate capable of taking a polish, could include limestone and many colors 
Tennessee marble is medium-grained similar to limestone in texture with a pink cast 
Georgia marble is very large-grained, somewhat gray in color 
Predominant stone for gravestones in the 19th century 
Many early marbles are eroded and “sugaring”   



Sedimentary rock composed of cemented sand grains – “bedding planes” 
Red and brown (Brownstone) in color, can be gray, tan or blue (Bluestone) 
Fine-grained stone with sand grains 
Often flakes and delaminates   


weathered granite headstone



Igneous rock with visible grain, primarily quartz and feldspar 
Speckled appearance with sparkly mica and dull black flecks 
Extremely hard rock that is difficult to carve by hand 
Grays, pinks in a wide range of colors 
Commercial granites include gneiss and other rocks not strictly granite 
Exhibits a full range of grain sizes with uniform surface patterns 
Granular with no discernable bedding planes  
Often used for monuments and tombs   



Metamorphosed shale, hard and brittle 
Usually black, gray or blue 
Sometimes fades with time 
Extremely smooth, fine-grained stone with even bedding planes usually running parallel with the stone’s face
Holds carving very well, inscriptions usually very clear 
Uniform surface appearance 
Gravestones tend to be thin and simple in shape, generally not more than six inches



Soft, sedimentary rock primarily composed of calcite
Fossils may be recognizable and are the most diagnostic trait
Tan, buff or gray colored that darkens with age
Matte surface almost never polished
Somewhat rough texture, rarely “sugars” like marble 
No marked veining like marble 
No definite layers or bedding planes like sandstone  
No sparkly mica grains like granite
Often gets gypsum crusts   


     Metamorphic rock
     Largely composed of the mineral talc and is rich in magnesium
     Easily carved and darkens over age
     Smooth to the touch
     Used in 19th century, commonly for slot and tab tombs in Georgia
     White, gray, greenish gray, pale green, commonly discolored in reddish
     or brownish hues and mottled