Planning Your Memorial

How long will it take to get a custom headstone?

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Know your Memorial Budget:

How much to spend on a memorial? This is an interesting question. In today's climate everyone is more conscious of the cost of all purchases but a memorial is unique in that it is most probably the longest lasting decision we have to make for a loved one. Many wish to raise a truly beautiful stone to bring their own ideas to life - in tribute to a family member. Hand carved stones are the best of memorial designs, in that each is truly a "one off" item. I.e. hand carved is just that - carved by hand originals to your design.

Naturally for such quality and time taken there is a cost yet it is not out of reach of most families as we deal with one of the world's largest and most efficient factories. Quality Stones in this range can be priced from approximately $5000 and upwards but it is not common to exceed $10,000

A modest plaque can cost as little as $450. These can vary from small granite plaques through Bronze and Chrome and the new and exciting Ceramic photo tiles which offers large amounts of text over a photo background.

Most people spend between $3000 and $6000 and a large proportion of those in our gallery pages would fall into this general bracket. We suggest you choose your preferred option, email us or call in and see us.

As times are more difficult we are finding that many customers are interested in our low cost memorials where quality stones can be made in a modest price range.

We have headstones & memorials to fit all needs.

An interesting concept is that after spending maybe many thousands of dollars laying a loved one to rest people are emotionally hard hit and when to comes to choosing a memorial often have come to a point where saving money is a large consideration. In reality the memorial is the only tangible point of reference that will be left to a family yet this is the point where saving is looked at hardest. What is above the ground is what will be looked at forever so in choosing a stone one needs to choose well a memorial to last for eternity.

Finance Options:

Artline offer generous terms to clients; our normal terms of trade allow for payment within 30 days of invoice after the headstone is placed in the cemetery but because estate planning is not that easy and often clients wish to order a headstone that is not required till an unveiling we also have lay-by and automatic payment options. Call and discuss a plan that suits your needs.

Pick a Headstone Size:

Do you wish a stone that catches the eye? Do you wish for a more modest memorial? Council by-laws can influence memorial size - don't be afraid to ask us for advice. By-laws permitting, you can plan your headstone as large or as small as your budget allows.

A normal range for many standard headstones will be in between 700 x 550mm and 900 x 900mm. Smaller memorials range from the basic cremation stone at 500 x 400mm to a 600 x 450mm single adult sized stone.

Plaques can be in any size required and can be shaped to individual needs.

Our custom-made stones tend to be in the larger range and 1100 x 1100 is a fairly normal upper range for a memorial. If a taller stone is needed above this size again we can handle it too as long as they are allowed in the cemetery or urupa.

Pick a Granite Colour:

Black is the traditional colour of headstones and memorials, and for years was one of only 4 colours available. You may wish to select a 'living' colour from one of the 40 plus colours available. Because granite is straight from the earth, i.e. a natural product, colour can vary from piece to piece. Each sample shown is a representative sample only.

Many granites that are in the market today are not good for headstones. Bench top makers bring in hundreds of granite colours from all around the world but most of these are not suitable for headstones because headstones have to be able withstand all weather conditions such as frost, rain and wind. Our colour page offers the best of granites for memorials and our recommendations regarding inscription choices. Green stones have trouble holding their colour due to a high iron content in most of them. This high iron content causes them to turn a yellow-brown colour over time when exposed to sunlight and weather caused by the iron rusting. Kerela has this problem so we do not promote it because we wish a client to know all the facts and then choose. Some firms will promote this but not advise of colour change. Our recommendation for GREEN GRANITE is the aptly named EVERGREEN or JADEITE because they stay green forever.

Granite is a natural rock with unique variations in colour and pattern:

  1. Natural Differences: Each piece of granite looks a bit different due to its natural formation.

  2. Where it Comes From: There are multiple granite quarries for each colour of stone in various countries. Therefore, granites of the "same colour" can vary and have different patterns and markings.

  3. Natural Marks: Granite might have natural lines or spots, making each piece special.

  4. How It's Finished: Whether it's polished or honed can affect how it looks.

  5. Photos Might Differ: Pictures may not show the exact colours and patterns; it's best to check actual stone.

Light colour granites, used for headstones and monuments, may be susceptible to staining under certain conditions:

  1. Natural Porosity: Light granites, while aesthetically pleasing, may have microscopic pores that can absorb liquids, potentially leading to stains.

  2. Prompt Clean-up: Swiftly clean up spills, especially from substances like organic matter (flowers), bird droppings, or environmental pollutants, to minimize the risk of staining.

  3. Testing and Maintenance: Before using any cleaning or stain removal products, it's recommended to test them on a small, inconspicuous area of the headstone to ensure compatibility. Regular maintenance and proper care can contribute to the longevity of the stone's appearance.

  4. Professional Advice: For specific concerns or if stains persist, ask us, We can provide guidance on stain removal techniques and preventative measures.

Marble, a timeless and elegant material used for headstones and monuments, possesses unique characteristics that require special attention:

  1. Natural Softness: Marble is a relatively soft stone compared to granite or other materials commonly used for headstones. This inherent softness may make it more susceptible to scratches, chips, or weathering over time.

  2. Limited Maintenance: To avoid potential exacerbation of decay, it is recommended to limit maintenance to once a year. Over-cleaning or using harsh products may accelerate wear and tear on the marble surface.

  3. Gentle Cleaning Practices: When maintaining marble headstones, use gentle, pH-balanced cleaners suitable for natural stone. Abrasive or acidic cleaning agents can potentially damage the surface.

  4. Weathering: Exposure to outdoor elements, such as sunlight, rain, and pollutants, can affect the appearance of marble over time. Regular cleaning and protective measures once a year can help mitigate these effects.

  5. Surface Wear and Repainting: Due to the soft nature of marble, surface wear can occur over time, making repainting challenging. The intricate details of the memorial may be affected, and repainting might not restore the original appearance as effectively.

  6. Professional Consultation: For specific maintenance concerns or if you are uncertain about proper care, ask us. We can provide guidance on cleaning methods, restoration, and long-term preservation.

Pick a Headstone Shape:

At Artline we delight in making what others cannot. Want a Piano accordion or a sewing machine or a Paua or Rugby boots or how about a rock with a Manaia set into it? Full colour Ceramic photo tile Panels set into any stone or rock - we are the Waikato outlet for this extremely hard wearing ceramic material. When anyone says "it can't be done" - call us. We have yet to find a memorial "too difficult".

Stock headstones are readily available, however check out our sample photos for some idea of the wider range of memorials we can supply.

At Artline we encourage families to design their own headstones and we can create memorials to fit your needs. Custom made headstones and memorials can be any colour available, any shape that it is physically possible to make in stone and all are top quality. Custom made memorials will normally take between 3-4 months to have ready as many involve skilled carving and are made overseas.

Please allow PLENTY of time (4 or more months) if an unveiling is planned.

Pick a Granite Finish:

A polished finish on your memorial will stay pristine for years with a minimum of maintenance.

Rock edging brings a natural stone feel to a headstone, but requires more looking after - as the finish tends to attract lichen.

Ground / punched finish gives a smooth unpolished look but like rocking will require slightly more maintenance.

Ceramic photo tiles offers a manufacturers warranty of 100 years. The surface of this Ceramic photo tiles is so hard and dense lichen will not grow on it and it is impermeable to water. For enduring memorials the perfect combination is a Ceramic photo tiles panel inset into a polished granite stone - the BEST of both worlds - modern and traditional all together.

Pick a Memorial Base:

Your headstone base can include a flower vase or a ceramic flower. You may also wish to inscribe the base with a name, sentiment, or design.

Council by-laws can influence the size of a memorial's base.

Base shapes can be anything you wish. Curved, square, sloping fronts, rounded ends, bevels, champhers, steps (to heaven) all at the same price.

Vases are stainless steel and will last with minimum care but we do recommend that NO wire supported flowers are used as clearly these flower stems rust and make a mess. Should a vase look dirty or because of the artificial flower stems - look rusty - then a wipe with wire wool will restore them quickly.

Warehouse flowers are great as long as they are plastic stemmed. Garden fresh flowers are perfect.

Plan your Memorial Inscription:

We will be happy to help you plan your inscription. Please remember to bring details such as date of birth, date of passing, relationship to spouse and family, and a suitable sentiment (we can help with suggestions). We also have a large selection of Epitaphs, Sentiments & other suitable Verses for your Memorial.

You may wish to add a floral tribute or personalised design - both of which can significantly enhance a memorial.

If you are having difficulty with complicated family arrangements and are having writer's block then bring BASIC details and let us suggest suitable words. We have wide experience in solving inscription layout problems.

Inscriptions are normally highlighted in Gold, white or silver colours. GOLD is 23 carat gold leaf and this will incur a small extra charge due to the current high price of real gold. GOLD PAINT is not recommended on a headstone even though some shops will offer it. The artificial gold will not last and in 6 months or a year, your headstone will require maintenance and possibly repainting of the entire inscription. The white and silver paints will last in the region of 15 years and then a touch up will be required. This is something family can do themselves. For minimal cost 23 Carat Gold leaf will last longer - up to 25 years depending on location and exposure to the elements. The Ceramic photo tiles inscription is guaranteed by the manufacturer to last for 100 years.

Add a Ceramic Photo:

Colour or black and white photos can be supplied in a variety of shapes and sizes, from miniature through to 24cm x 18 cm. A standard size for most memorials is 9 x 12cm. Supply of a photo takes approximately 3 weeks. Photos can be processed from off your scanner if required, or bring in any size photo you wish. Artline staff process your photo directly and can do considerable adjustments to a photo for no extra charge.

For the extra large photos Ceramic photo tiles is the option - it is can be shaped to suit and multiple photos can be overlaid and words can be included. Size for photos made this way can be up to 800 x 800mm - one of the world's largest ceramic photos made right here in NZ.

Customised Artwork:

We encourage people to design their own artwork or use our artist's talents if needed. Use of our large inventory of existing images is FREE! Complicated designs are no problem to us - however a charge is made for the designs that are "one off". Some will take hours some will take minutes - bring your design in and let us see what it will take.


We can assist with a wide range of suitable verse & sentiments to compliment your text. We have hundreds of epitaphs but the very best ones are the poems and words inspired by family. These reflect your own feelings and we can add large poems if needed. Ceramic photo tiles panels allow for very large inscription options - we have used newsprint sized text that is clear and readable - if the poet in you gets carried away.

Installing Your Memorial:

Artline predominantly services the greater Waikato - Turangi to Bombay, from Kawhia to the Kaimais and can supply ex-yard if Whanau wish to install the memorials themselves, regulations permitting.

We will gladly give you full advice and instructions.

Public cemeteries are regulated heavily now so few unskilled people are allowed to install headstones and memorials in council operated cemeteries any more. Artline supply a full installation service within the area described above. Outside this are we can arrange with our Nationwide co-operative of HEADSTONES SHOPS to have a memorial installed.