Choosing good quality black granite when you want laser etching on your tombstone is very important. Quality black granite has the proper density needed for laser etching and provides the greatest contrast of the symbol or photograph on the monument. Black granite also has a very monotone color and allows for detailed photo etching.
Granite is formed by many different minerals (like quartz, feldspar, mica, etc) in magma that cools below the earth’s surface. Sometimes you can see specks of these minerals in the stone, but quality black granite should still have a very consistent color (the key word is color consistency). Flecks of other minerals, which often appear yellow or gray, are completely natural and should not be a cause of concern.
Laser etching almost always takes place on black granite headstones because the contrast between the dark, polished black granite on the outside of the stone compared to the unpolished, light gray granite color on the inside of the stone is the greatest. If there are several large flecks of white (from minerals like quartz) present on the outside of the monument it can detract from the appearance of the laser etching. Good quality black granite headstones should not have large flecks of any colors that would substantially detract from the beauty of the stone. Due to the process of laser etching (as well as the photo that is used) varying degrees of black and gray will be present in the etching on the monument and should add to the quality of the etching.
The best quality black granite comes from South Africa, Sweden, and parts of China. Other froms of black granite are available from countries such as Scandinavia, India, and Brazil. Chinese black granite is used extensively in the United States for its use in grave markers and headstones. Chinese black granite comes in varying shades of black and is desired for creating monuments because of its density. However, countries of origin aside, it’s important to look at the grains present in the granite as well as the consistency of the color. Sometimes unscrupulous granite suppliers will dye any chips or nicks in the granite black to hide imperfections, but the lie comes out when the stone becomes wet or faces the elements. Natural black granite has a few color imperfections (except for flecks of other minerals naturally present in the stone).