162-05 Horace Harding Expressway
Fresh Meadows, NY 11365
Phone: 1-800-675-0300
Fax: 347-438-2516

Memorial Design

How do you select the proper design of a memorial?

History reveals that the erection of monuments is as old as civilization. In fact, it is a measure of civilization. The higher the cultural and intellectual attainments of a people, the more beautiful and expressive their memorials and cemeteries became. A true memorial should be designed with a two-fold purpose:

  • To express your love, affection, and admiration of one whose life was deeply interwoven with yours.
  • To reflect the personality, achievements, ambitions, avocations or credo of the departed one.

Sinai Memorials can assist you in the selection of interpretive ornaments, commemorative symbols, and epitaphs that can perpetuate precious personal and family ties.

What are the components of a fine memorial?

There are many different components that make a fine memorial. The following are basic guidelines to help you determine the level of quality.

Lettering Lettering should be deep, and legible without the use of black paint (which will eventually fade away or streak and which many cemeteries prohibit).
Carving of Ornamentation Shapes should be sharp and clear. Backgrounds of the ornamental elements should be darker than the elements themselves.
Finish Polished surfaces should have a high, deep shine. A deep and dark polished area can border lettering surfaces, framing them.
Materials Granite from the same area can vary greatly in color, purity, and cost. The granite should be consistent in color, graining, and strength. The granite used for the monument must also be free of impurities.

Remember, size should not be the measure of value when assessing a monument. It is the finer points of artistry, craftsmanship and quality that truly define a fine memorial.

Can you guide me in what to write on the monument?

An inscription is meant to be a lasting tribute, so it needs to be correct. This is why we have made this one of our specialties. We can guide you to create an inscription that will express your feelings in English, Hebrew, or Russian. With a Rabbi on staff for advice, we can help to ensure that all inscriptions are correct.

Can you duplicate an existing monument of a family member interred nearby?

First, we send a field representative to the gravesite where photos, rubbings, and measurements are taken of the existing headstone. From these, our experienced craftsmen can carefully create an accurate reproduction, within the limits of existing technology.

How do I get the second side of an existing double headstone inscribed?

We will send a field representative to the gravesite. Photos, rubbings, and measurements will be taken of the existing headstone to assure an accurate duplicate inscription.

Material Selection

What is the best material choice for a monument?

In the past, stone carvers used soft materials such as marble, slate, and limestone. With the advent of hardened and carbide steel tools, granite has become the preferred material of choice due to its durability.

What color choices are available?

Granites are available in many colors from the quarries of the world:

White/Light Grey   

About 95% of monuments sold in New York City are made from this color granite, generally referred to as Barre Grey
Pink                             Often, sourced from Canada, this granite has a fine workable grain.
Ruby Red   This granite, found in Wisconsin, can attain a glistening polish because of its amazing hardness.
Light Gray These granites are the most plentiful in the Eastern United States (Maine to Georgia).
Black Pennsylvania, Africa, and India
Multi-tonal Grain New quarries in the East have discovered granites that rival the famed Carrara marbles with discrete markings of different colors.

What finishes are available?

The top and sides of a monument can be finished in one of two ways:

Smooth                        A memorial with a smooth finish means that all sides of the monument are glossy and smooth.
Rock-Hewn      A memorial with a rock-hewn finish contains ridges on the top and sides, which are left behind after the granite is cut into slabs. This “natural rock” appearance makes this finish a popular choice.

The front and back of the memorial are almost always finished smooth. The smoothness is achieved by using a heavy flat disk of steel on the surface of the granite with grinding grit under it. After many revolutions of this heavy flat wheel, any ridges wear down to smoothness. To bring a high gloss to smooth finish, the process is continued with the use of felt and putty powder (a polishing rouge) under the heavy rotating disk. The combination of the high speed of the revolving wheel (disk) pressing down on the surface and the polishing agent brings the granite to an everlasting gloss. Since granite is largely silica, the main ingredient of glass, the same gloss is realized.

Why should I be concerned about the quality of granite used for the memorial? Isn’t all granite the same?

Although the supply of granite is inexhaustible, only about twenty percent is suitable for monumental use. If quality granite is not selected, it can affect the appearance of the memorial over time. Granite is composed of quartz, feldspar, mica and other materials. There are sometimes also traces of ferrous materials in oxide form. When a stratum of granite containing ferrous metals (iron) is used for monumental purposes, oxidation occurs and the granite changes color. White granite with such impurities turns brown or yellow. The use of “top quarry” granite for monuments can also be a cause of discoloration. When a new area is cleared of topsoil for quarrying, the top layers of granite have been saturated with organic and inorganic chemicals contained in the soil immediately above it. These impurities, which have been absorbed by the top layers of granite, are called “sap.” They are not apparent in newly manufactured monuments, but exposure to the elements at the cemetery dissolves them and makes them come to the surface. Sinai Memorials uses only the finest quality materials from the best granite quarries, superior craftsmanship, and utilization of the latest technologies in the industry to assure you of a lasting memorial you and your family will be proud of.