Headstone Engraving vs Headstone Etching

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Finding the right way to commemorate a loved one can be a difficult process, but we are on hand to guide you every step of the way. There is much to consider in the design of a headstone, including material, inscription, and design, which can all seem overwhelming for people who have not been through the process before.

Here at WS Moore Memorial Masons, we use our century of experience to help you find the perfect solution for your loved one. Below you’ll see that we have broken down the difference between two common design methods: headstone engraving and headstone etching.

Each method has different advantages and produces a different style of design, which we have explained below:

Headstone Engraving

W.S Moore engraved book memorial
W.S Moore Engraved Memorial with gilded inscription

Headstone engraving has been the traditional way to personalise a memorial for centuries – we even use engraving these days to personalise memorials for pets, such as those crafted at Rest Easy Pet Memorials.

Headstone engraving is the process of carving an inscription or decoration into a headstone and is most commonly used for adding the name and an epitaph. The process of headstone engraving was traditionally carried out with hammers and chisels, but in recent years it has been more commonly achieved through sandblasting.

Sandblasting is the process of using compressed air to shoot small particles of sand through a hose against the stone to carve out a design. It is considered the most effective method for headstone engraving as it creates a visually impressive design that does not cause any unwanted chips or marks in the stone.

The downside to traditional engraving as opposed to etching is that wind, rain, and dirt can often collect in the carved areas which will soften the design over time. Engraved designs often weather quicker than etched designs.

The cost of headstone engraving can vary significantly depending on the requested design and the stone being used.

Contact us today for more information.

Headstone Etching

Daffodils etched into a headstone
An angel etching on a headstone

Etching is a modern solution to headstone design that has become hugely popular thanks to the incredible level of detail that can be achieved. It is commonly used to recreate photographs or intricate images on the stone.

Only the most skilled stone masons have the ability to hand etch designs into stone; it is a hugely sought-after skill that requires great stonemasonry expertise to achieve. Hand etching is carried out using a diamond tipped engraving tool that is used to etch the image into the stone one dot at a time.

Headstone etching is more commonly carried out using a computerised laser etcher. This process can perfectly replicate almost any image into the surface of the stone, but this does not provide the personal touch that hand etching does. Many people prefer the style of hand etched designs, but it is almost impossible to perfectly recreate a design this way. The cost of laser etching is much lower than that of hand etching, but this process does not provide the same depth that is found in hand etching.

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