Monument Composition & Terminology

General Terms

The lower, supportive part of the overall monument. There may be a sub-base on top of a base for added personalization.

A slanting surface of a monument or marker.

The top or upper portion of a column or monument.

A beveled or tapered edge created by cutting away the square edge on a monument or marker.

A pillar or post, employed as a support. They may be free standing in some designs.

A low railing or curb of stone usually enclosing a cemetery lot.

A representation of a finished monument. This can be a photograph, MonuVision design, sketch or cut-file. The cut-file must be approved by the customer before production.

The main part of a monument. This is the upright portion above the base. It is suggested to use the term “tablet” when describing this part of a memorial to the customer.

A symbolic representation – religious, fraternal, military service related etc. Can be sandblasted, lasered, or mounted to the memorial.

The inscription placed on a monument to commemorate the deeds or qualities of the departed.

A surface cut to fit another. This is normally used to designate the bottom of the main part of the monument.

A flat memorial, covering all or most of the grave.

The name/names and dates on a monument. This is also known as the inscription.

Lithochrome is the paint that is put in the carving and lettering after the design has been sandblasted on the monument. Adding lithochrome increases the visibility of the letters/emblems/designs that are sandblasted into the granite.

Be mindful of the finish when choosing a color of lithochrome. Frosted areas will appear greyish compared to the polished surfaces. Black lithochrome will not be visible on black and other dark-colored granite. Black lithochrome does look wonderful in frosted panels or when used on a light colored stone (think Georgia Grey). More than one lithochrome color is permitted.

Remember, lithochrome is NOT required and doesn’t possess the same long-lasting qualities that the actual granite does. Paint will fade over time.*

A small headstone used to identify individual graves.

A narrow strip around a polished or rocked surface. The margin can be sawed or polished. A margin is commonly used around the sides of a bottom base.

Any above ground structure for burial. It is identified by the number of chambers or crypts available.

2 Crypt Mausoleum  a structure built for the entombment of two individuals.

A part of a molding or some other subdivision of a monument.

The lined formed by the meeting of two stones in a perfect fit or the meeting of two surfaces.

A structure erected as a memorial. From the Latin word meaning “to remind.”

On monuments, this refers to any projecting member that is beyond the main surface line. On markers and slants, it refers to the top and front areas.

A bordered area on the surface of a monument or marker to which the effect of framing is given. The polish is removed from the stone which gives it this framing effect.

A sub-base or foundation inserted at the bottom of a principal stone, statue or vase.

Any four-sided tapering spire that forms a pyramidal top.

carved into a scroll design as a place for the inscription of names.

A concave molding. This member can be found on the ends of a monument or a continuous molding around the monument or base.


The finish of the monument simply describes the surface of the stone. The most common are provided below.

Balance Rock Pitched (BRP)
A natural or “rustic” surface of the stone. The finish is created with a hammer and chisel (“pitching tool”). It has a rough cut surface with mitered corner lines.

A sandblasting procedure where the polished finish is deliberately removed, giving the stone a white appearance in contrast to the darker glossy polished surface.

Polished (P)
The standard for the front and back of an upright, the top of a base, and the face of a slant, bevel, or flat marker. This smooth and glassy finish is achieved by slowly grinding the granite with progressively finer abrasive.

P1: Only one surface is polished. This is standard for flat markers, bevels, and the front of slants.

P2: Polished front and back of an upright monument/base, with rock pitched tops and sides. This is the standard for our uprights.

P3: Polished front, back, and top of a monument/base.

P5: Polished front, back, top, and sides of a monument/base

PM: Narrow strip of polished granite around sides of a bottom base.

A semi-smooth, NOT SHINY, finish. This is created when a diamond tipped saw makes cuts through the granite.

Shell Rock
A hand-cut rustic surface with a strong, scalloped or dish shaped appearance, cut by a skilled stone cutter with a hammer and chisels. This technique is commonly used to picture frame the face of the memorial


Formula: Length x Width x Height

Measurement from Left to Right

Measurement from Front to Back

Measurement from Bottom to Top

When taking or giving dimensions always use the perspective of standing in front of the memorial.

The standard practice in the monument industry is to convert all measurements into feet and inches, using a dash to separate feet from inches.


24” would be written 2-0 (two feet, zero inches)

14” would be written 1-2 (one foot, two inches)

4” would be written 0-4 (zero feet, four inches)

Vase Measurements:
Take the measurements across the top of the vase at the widest point for the width.

Be aware of odd dimensions. Standard granite dimensions are even numbers. If you order something odd (i.e. 5” thick), it can be done but the customer will pay a lot more and wait a lot longer.

Granite is not an exact product. Most memorials are a little oversized. 48 ½ inches is 48 inches. 8 ¾ inches is 8 inches. Don’t worry about fractions unless there is a need for the piece to fit exactly and precisely into a given piece.