Headstones serve a couple of different purposes. Primarily, they serve to mark your body's final resting place. They also memorialize your life and existence by announcing to visitors when you were born, when you died, your name and anything else you wish to have "printed" on your headstone. If you are considering purchasing your headstone in advance to your passing, here are some decorative options for the print on your marker.

Positive Relief

Positive relief techniques on burial markers involve the removal of the stone's material from around the lettering. It can involve chisels or the latest laser techniques. Usually, positive relief writing on a gravestone elevates the writing in a recessed surface, thereby creating a dual tone appearance; the writing is raised, darker and often polished, while the removed and recessed surface is lighter in color and rougher in texture.

Negative Relief

Negative relief techniques chisel, carve or laser the writing into the gravestone without removing any of the stone from around the writing. It is one of the oldest techniques for anything written in stone, and it takes a very long time for the writing to wear away (which is where the expression, "written in stone" comes from). The dual edges of the negative relief writing may be sanded to give the lettering a more rounded and softer appearance, or the edges may be slightly recessed to give the letters a boxier appearance like Roman calligraphy.

Lasered to the Surface with No Depth

The last technique is a much more modern one because of its use of lasers. If you have seen some recent headstones that are highly polished but have perfectly frosted script on them, you have seen a lasered headstone. The script is very smooth, with almost no depth carved into or out of the stone at all, yet it lasts a very long time.

Many people choose this option because it allows them to write much more on the stone in a greater number of calligraphy styles not available to the negative or positive relief techniques. It is also the most expensive, since a computer and special programming are involved to create exactly what you want written on your marker. The laser method is also used to create custom graphics on headstones too.

Brass Plaques

If you do not want a carved or lasered headstone, you can always opt for an engraved brass plaque on a small head marker. The brass plaques do not rust or corrode, and the writing on the plaques is often simple but elegant. It is, perhaps, the most affordable of all of the headstone options because of its size and simplicity.