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Granite Memorials: Basic Color Choices

Granite is an alluring choice of memorial material. Its polished granular appearance and range of intense colors appeals to the eye; its uncompromising resistance to erosion appeals to the heart. Given its characteristics it is perhaps not surprising that many a headstone in cemeteries across the United States is a granite memorial.

Like most rocks, granite is composed from a unique mixture of minerals. For a rock to be considered as a granite it must contain two base minerals - feldspar and quartz. Commonly, granite contains other 'accessory' minerals within its make up too, and it is the quantity of these other minerals along with the feldspar and quartz that provide granite memorials with its vast repertoire of colors. Here we discuss the four basic granite memorial colors.

Basic Granite Memorial Colors

There are many different colors of granite quarried in the United States. The most common are white granite, gray granite, red granite and mahogany granite. All are used as granite headstone material.

White granite headstones are characterized by a high proportion of small granular white feldspar crystals and quartz set within a sparse fine grained dark mineral matrix. This granite memorial material is often known as 'Sierra White'.

Gray granite memorials contain large white feldspar and quartz crystals in a dark mineral matrix. The darker material is present in larger quantities than in the Sierra White granite memorial material, so producing the 'gray' color. For our purposes, gray granite memorials are referred to as 'Georgia gray' as they are quarried from the Elberton, Georgia region.

Red granite headstones are made from a fine-grained granite that consists of red/pink feldspar, white quartz and a dark mica such as biotite. Mahogany granite headstones are similar to red granite headstones, the main difference being the size of the mineral crystals and their proportions in the granite headstone.