Want to honour your loved one with a gravestone that stands the test of time and resists dirt and fingerprints to stay looking clean? Then, there are several elements you should keep in mind whilst choosing your stone. Here's some things to consider:

1. Stone durability

Whether you choose a cemetery plaque, a gravestone or even a monument, you need to choose a rock for it. If you want a material that lasts, look for hard stones such as marble or granite, and stay away from relatively soft stone such as sandstone. The latter tends to be more susceptible to erosion, and in some cases, vandals may even be able to etch on soft stone, which is considerably harder to do on hard stone.

2. Engraving Lifespan

Professionals who focus on engraving gravestones and plaques use special tools and methods that are designed to withstand the test of time. However, as you no doubt know if you have walked through an old cemetery, after a while, some engravings start to fade.

To ensure the engraving lasts as long as possible, ask for deep etchings into stone, or consider cemetery plaques. These can be attached to upright or flat gravestones, and they generally feature a layer of metal that is laser or hand etched.

3. Coating on Plaques

If you want the plaque to stay as clean as possible, opt for a coating that is relatively resistant to fingerprints. For example, aluminium, stainless steel and many other metals are susceptible to fingerprints, but you can ask the engraver to add a fingerprint resistant coating to these metals. Additionally, if you are adding a gloss or matte finish, opt for matte. Shiny surfaces tend to highlight fingerprints or stains more readily, whilst flat finishes can help hide these blemishes.

4. Stone Shape

Ideally, you should also think about the shape of the stone. If you want to prevent leaves or other debris from blowing against the stone and collecting there, you may want a plaque that is flat against the ground, rather than a raised stone.  

However, if you prefer the look of a raised stone, you may want to avoid stones with flat edges on the top. Flat stones with squared or plateaued tops can be susceptible to collecting rain and enduring water erosion, while in contrast, rounded stones allow the water to run off easily.

5. Simple Shapes

Whether you choose a monument or a stone, choose a design with a simple shape. Avoid lots of crevices and artistic flourishes, as they may end up harbouring dust, cobwebs or debris.

Ultimately, however, your stone is likely to last the longest if it's made by a professional and placed in a well managed cemetery. To get more ideas, contact a gravestone specialist.