Jun 02, 2021      < Back to blog menu


Headstone Engraving vs Headstone Etching

Ensuring that you find the perfect way to commemorate your loved one can be difficult, but here at CJ Ball, we are on hand to help. The headstone design process can be confusing as there is so much to consider, including material, inscription, and symbols.  

Below we have broken down the difference between two common headstone design methods: headstone engraving and headstone etching. Each method has its own pros and cons, and it is down to you to decide which is right for your memorial.

Headstone Engraving

CJ Ball Memorials Etching Engraving Blog Image
CJ Ball Memorials Etching Engraving Blog Photo
CJ ball memorials barry how to choose a headstone inscription font
CJ Ball Memorials Etching Engraving Image

Traditional headstone engraving has been used as a method of personalising a memorial for centuries. This usually involves the process of adding an inscription to a headstone, or for carving large symbols into the stone. It is most used for adding simplistic wording and designs to a memorial. Hammers and chisels were traditionally used for headstone engraving, but sandblasting has become a popular method in recent years.  

Sandblasting involves using compressed air to shoot small particles of sand through a hose to carve the stone, and is considered the most effective method for engraving a headstone. It creates a visually impressive result without chipping the material.  

The only negative to traditional engraving is that wind, rain, and dirt can collect in the carved sections and can soften the design over time. The cost of headstone engraving can vary depending on the requested design and the stone used. Contact us today for more information.  

Headstone Etching

CJ Ball Memorials Etching Engraving Blog Swans Photo
CJ ball memorials barry how to choose a headstone inscription font
CJ Ball Memorials Etching Engraving Rose Image
CJ ball memorials barry how to choose a headstone inscription font

Etching has quickly become a hugely popular method of adding more detailed designs to a headstone. It is a wonderful way to create great levels of detail in stone, and is commonly used to recreate photographs on memorials.  

Headstone etching is an art form, and only the most skilled masons have the ability to hand etch designs into stone. This is carried out using a diamond tipped engraving tool, and the image is etched into the stone one dot at a time. More commonly, etching is carried out using a computerised laser etcher which can perfectly replicate almost any image into the surface of stone. Many people prefer hand etched designs as they are more personal, but it is almost impossible to perfectly recreate a design without a laser etcher.  

The cost of laser etching is lower than that of hand etching, but this process does not provide the same depth that is found with hand etching.  

Take a look at some of our other blog posts for more handy guides on how to choose the right memorial for your loved one, or get in touch with our friendly family advisors today.  


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Vale of Glamorgan,

CF62 8BB

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Tel: 01446 734 607

Email:  info@cjballmemorials.co.uk