Buying a headstone or grave marker is a responsibility many people have after a loved one’s passing. Additionally, someone planning their own funeral might wish to choose their own headstone, instead of allowing others to make this decision for them.
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Regardless, whether you’re buying a headstone for a loved one or yourself, it’s important to understand your options. You want to choose a grave marker that will meet your standards.
One type to consider is a bevel headstone. Although there’s a good chance you’ve seen this style of grave marker at some point in your life, you may not be very familiar with it, as it’s somewhat less common than various other options.
This guide will help if you don’t know much about bevel headstones but want to learn if they’re right for your goals. It explains what a bevel headstone is, what you can expect to spend on one, and what popular types of bevel headstones are available.
What’s a Bevel Headstone?
A bevel headstone is distinct from many other types of grave markers in one key way. While most headstones typically rise vertically to some degree, a bevel headstone lies close to the ground and thus has a more horizontal appearance.
However, a grave marker that is essentially flush with a cemetery’s lawn won’t technically qualify as a bevel headstone. A relatively large part of a bevel headstone will rise from the base a few inches. This makes finding a bevel headstone in a cemetery easier than finding other types of flat headstones.
The front of a bevel headstone might also slant or slope up at an angle. Although this slant is what the word bevel actually refers to, some may consider any flat headstone that rises from the ground a few inches to be a bevel headstone, even if its front doesn’t slant.
How Much Do Bevel Headstones Cost?
As is the case with any type of grave marker, many factors will play a role in determining the cost of a bevel headstone. These may include its size, the material from which it was made, the nature of the engravings on the headstone, and more.
That said, the cost of a bevel headstone usually starts at around $350, and can reach as much as $3000 (or even more in some circumstances).
Still, it’s generally easier to find an affordable bevel headstone than it is to find an upright grave marker. This is one of the main reasons some people choose this option.
10 Types of Bevel Headstones
While bevel headstones are unique when compared to others in some ways, they’re also similar to traditional grave markers in other ways. For instance, they’re available in a range of popular materials, including granite, marble, and bronze.
They also come in various shapes and sizes, and they can include custom features. That means there are several different types of bevel headstones you may wish to consider when making a purchase. These are just some of the more popular options.
1. Traditional bevel headstone
A basic bevel headstone will be a rectangular grave marker rising a few inches from the ground with a slanted facade. There will usually be space on this facade for basic engravings.
However, the fact that this type of bevel headstone is fairly similar to many others doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not the right choice for you. This is often an affordable option worth keeping in mind if you're on a tight budget. Additionally, its design has a timeless quality that ensures the headstone you choose will probably never look out of place in the future.
2. Religious bevel headstones
Religious people sometimes choose bevel headstones because their shape and size allow them to naturally include religious images alongside text engravings. These images may be praying hands, images of Jesus, angels, a Star of David, and numerous others. Thus, bevel headstones offer religious families a simple way to honor their important values when putting a loved one to rest.
3. Bevel headstones with unique imagery
Naturally, you can still purchase a bevel headstone featuring a simple iconic image, even if you’re not a religious person. For example, there are bevel headstones featuring images of musical instruments, flowers, sports equipment, and much more. Some bevel headstones even feature images of piano keys along the bottom section of their facades, making the headstone resemble a piano.
Consider this option if you want a loved one’s headstone to in some way reflect their personality. If your loved one was notably passionate about a particular interest or activity, you could buy a headstone featuring an appropriate image.
4. Bevel headstones featuring detailed imagery
The images on many bevel headstones are usually very basic and iconic. However, there are also bevel headstones featuring more detailed illustrations.
These illustrations often (but not always) depict scenes that might be relevant to the life of the person whose burial site they mark. For instance, if someone was a lover of the outdoors in life, you could find a bevel headstone featuring an image of a mountain or lake surrounded by trees and animals.
Sometimes these illustrations only include the outlines of the shapes in them. Other times, they may be even more detailed, essentially resembling full paintings of the scenes they depict. As you likely understand, the more detailed the imagery is, the more you’ll typically have to spend on a headstone.
5. Bevel headstones with accompanying sculptures
The raised portion of a bevel headstone often sits atop a base that’s closer to the ground. Sometimes, the base has space for additional items next to the raised portion. These are often sculptures of significant items, such as crosses, roses, hearts, urns, and more.
Keep in mind that some people choose to leave this extra space empty. They may do so if they believe they (and perhaps other loved ones) are likely to bring gifts to leave behind when they visit a grave in the future. This empty section offers them the ideal space on which to leave such items.
6. Shared bevel headstones
Some people may choose to purchase a bevel headstone because the money they save not purchasing an upright grave marker allows them to spend money on features they may consider more important.
For example, someone might want the front facade of their bevel headstone to be wide enough to accommodate engravings for multiple people. They might do this, for instance, if the headstone is to mark the burial site of two spouses.
7. Bevel headstones featuring images of loved ones
Sometimes the imagery on a bevel headstone consists of a picture of the person buried beneath the headstone. These pictures can be laser-etchings, which allows for significant detail and realism.
Although a loved one’s image can go anywhere on the facade of a bevel headstone, many people choose to include these images in the center of the facade.
This is another reason you might want to save money by purchasing a bevel headstone. When you research how much a headstone costs, you quickly learn that prices can range substantially based on many different factors. Thus, if including a detailed image of your loved one on their headstone is important to you but you’re on a tight budget, a bevel headstone might be the right option for you if an upright headstone isn’t a must-have.
8. Pet bevel headstones
A bevel headstone is often a good choice if you’d like to place a headstone for a beloved pet somewhere in your yard. It’s noticeable enough to respectfully honor the memory of your pet, without calling too much attention to itself. You might understandably not want an obvious reminder of a pet’s death standing upright on your lawn.
These headstones can also feature imagery and engravings. For example, if you’re buying a bevel headstone for a dog, you could buy one that features the image of a paw print.
9. Bevel headstones in unique shapes
Many bevel headstones are rectangular. However, that’s not necessarily the only type of shape that’s available.
For example, some bevel headstones are heart-shaped. This is a headstone design option you might consider if you were buying a grave marker for a romantic partner. There are even bevel headstones that, although they are essentially rectangular, resemble an open book, with the engravings looking like the text on the book’s pages.
10. Bevel headstones that look like natural stones
While some bevel headstones are clearly artificial due to their smooth surfaces and angles, others have a more natural visual quality, looking almost like large stones.
Consider the headstone’s eventual setting when deciding which type is right for your goals. If nature will surround the headstone, this might be an option worth considering.
Bevel Headstones: A Classic Choice
Hopefully, this guide has helped you better understand whether a bevel headstone is right for your loved one (or yourself). Just remember, this is a personal choice, and you should thoroughly consider your feelings and means when making a final decision.
If you're looking for more headstone buying resources, read our guides on the best stones for a headstone and how to buy headstones online.