Choosing a memorial
One of the things we hear over and over again from the families we work with is that they arrived on our doorstep because they wanted something unique, a memorial customized for their loved one. Sometimes they went somewhere else first and were instructed to pick something out of a book or on a computer program. Other times, they were traveling by one of our locations and noticed how different our displays were from other monument places. And they also arrive here because someone – a trusted cemetery person, a former customer that loved our service, a funeral director in the area, friends or family that have heard about us – referred them to Kellogg Memorials.
No matter how you happen to walk in our door, we are honored to have you. And it is our goal to get to know you and design a memorial that is as personal as you’d like it to be. We understand the importance of remembering.
There is no hurry for this part of your journey. Believe it or not, we have sometimes told families to wait a while after funeral services before selecting a memorial. The reason we do that is because this is the most permanent purchase you will ever make, and once something is carved in stone, well… there’s no taking it back. In the shock and sadness of having lost someone you love, it can be difficult to make mundane decisions, much less final arrangements. What you think you want for a memorial two days after someone has died might be very different than what you would want after six months. It’s a process. And we here at Kellogg Memorials are here to help you. We offer a relaxed, no pressure atmosphere that allows each individual the freedom to proceed at a pace that is most comfortable for you. It’s very important to choose a reputable local monument dealer whose focus is on you and creating the memorial you want – don’t buy online (See Our Inventory for more).
FIVE COMPONENTS OF PRICING YOUR MEMORIAL
Cemetery markers and monuments range in price from hundreds of dollars to thousands, all depending on what you want. Keep in mind that you need to compare value, not just price. For instance, there is a huge difference in price between buying China gray granite and Vermont gray granite. The difference is in quality – all granites are not the same! China gray granites tend to discolor over time in our climate, not to mention they are a much lower grade of granite than their Barre, Vermont counterpart.
1. size and Shape
Whether you’re purchasing a gravestone for a single person or for a family of four, size is one of the things that will be highlighted in your discussion with a memorial professional. How many graves is the monument going to sit on? How many family members will be interred there? Full burials or cremations? Does the cemetery have restrictions on width and height of the memorial? And are you interested in a traditional rectangular-shaped monument or would you prefer something customized for your loved one? Special shapes generally do not add an extravagant amount to the cost of your headstone, so it may be worth pursuing.
Polishing a monument takes place at the manufacturer, with the luster of the polish obtained using different coarseness of bricks over the surface of the stone. As a standard, most monuments come polished on two sides, front and back, with the other edges rock pitched. Polishing additional sides costs more, how much more depends on the size of the memorial. However, polished surfaces stay cleaner longer. There are also different finishes like steeled or stippled or satin, to name a few. Is your memorial in the open part of a cemetery or set back under pine trees? Do you mind having to clean the gravestone every few years or will that be problematic?
3. Design & Lettering
This is the last component of figuring the cost of your memorial. Do you prefer a shape carving over a flat carving? Are you given the opportunity to customize the monument as much as you wish or are there restrictions by the cemetery? What is the quality of workmanship in a deep carved rose or a sculpted pieta? Designs at Kellogg Memorials are a flat rate, depending on the level of detail and size of the headstone. Likewise, lettering is priced by the number and size of the characters. Both of these factors influence the cost of your monument, however, the bulk of the cost is in the granite itself.
4. Grade Quality & Warranty
In case you haven’t already discovered it here on our website, there is a difference in granites. Granite and other stone materials come out of the earth in varying quality grades, determined by the stone’s overall appearance, color, pattern consistency, mineral content and density. Saying that all granites are the same is like saying all diamonds are the same. Out of all the granite quarried by Rock of Ages, only a very small percentage meets the stringent quality standards necessary to produce a branded Rock of Ages memorial with warranty. These memorials are branded as good, better and best by the measure of quality.
There are as many colors of granite as there are colors of the rainbow. Having said that, some are much better suited for granite countertops than granite memorials. The color of granite has everything to do with where it is quarried from. The only North American black granite, for instance, is one called Black Mist from Pennsylvania. There are a number of imported granites with colors that are very unique, but you should ask about their durability and quality to be sure they are not inferior granites.
We take great pride in being able to provide our families with Rock of Ages granites. Other retailers may attempt to explain that their granite memorials are quarried from Rock of Ages, however, unless your monument has the Rock of Ages seal engraved directly on it, the memorial is not a Rock of Ages memorial. Only a small percentage of the stone quarried from Rock of Ages meets the stringent quality standards necessary to be used as a memorial that carries a Rock of Ages warranty.
Our families gain peace of mind in knowing that the warranties associated with their purchase forever protect their monument against cracking, discoloration, chipping, or any other defect attributable to the granite or the workmanship. Replacement of the memorial and related costs are taken care of through an independently maintained perpetual trust at the Wilmington Trust Company. That’s what makes Rock of Ages an industry leader since 1885 – their unsurpassable quality and craftsmanship that is backed up by an iron-clad guarantee. No one else offers the same. This warranty is not only valid to your immediate family, but also to your heirs and the cemetery itself. Even in the unlikely event that Rock of Ages ceases to exist in the future, your family’s memorial is still protected. Why is that important? Ask anyone who purchased from the Carthage NY-based company, Crooks Monuments. Their shoddy work is found in many area cemeteries and their “warranty” is only as good as the piece of paper it was written on – they went out of business several years ago and left their customers footing the bill for replacement of very poor quality granite memorials.
Even though all granites are NOT the same, we recognize that for some people, a rock is a rock. For those families who aren’t so concerned about the peace of mind of having a warranty with their monument, Kellogg Memorials also offers unbranded, lesser grade monuments. In fact, many of the imported unusually-colored granites from other countries fall into this category.
WE’VE SELECTED WHAT WE WANT… WHAT’S NEXT AND HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Once you’re comfortable with the decisions you’ve made, half the amount due on the monument is required to place an order at Kellogg Memorials. We do have payment plans, so ask if you need to make other arrangements. We will do our best to accommodate your unique set of circumstances. In roughly 2-3 wks after you place an order for your cemetery memorial, we will call you to come in and review a scaled drawing of it. Changes can be made at this time, spellings and dates are double checked, and once approved, the sandblasting and design work are done on the granite itself. This serves as a blueprint for your customized memorial and ensures you’re getting exactly what you want.
Most monuments are completed in eight to twelve weeks, from the time of ordering to installation in the cemetery. The timeline depends upon the color and cut of the granite you select, as well as your timely approval of the drawing of your memorial. Cemetery work schedules, weather and ground conditions may also be a deciding factor for completion.