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Your Complete A to Z of Granite Terminology

Sometimes during conversations with unsuspecting friends, family members,  or brand new clients, we’ll drop in a term such as ‘nosings’ or ‘lithichrome’ or ‘porosity’ – only to be greeted by stony silence (pun intended) or an amused ‘Huh?’

It got us thinking, why don’t we create an A-Z glossary of our most-used granite terms that we can share with you?

So that’s what we did.

Please note, however, this list is by no means exhaustive. So, consider this your part one.

Ready to learn more? Let’s go!


Your Complete A-Z of Granite Terms


A: Abrasive

This relates to the sandblasting process – the abrasive material is the one that does the cutting. Common abrasives include sand (although due to health and environmental concerns, this is being used less and less); aluminium oxide, silicone carbide, steel grit, plastic media, such as acrylic and polyester – and even walnut shells and glass beads.

B: Bench

As in a granite memorial bench, a seating structure made from granite and placed in a cemetery or memorial garden. We have vast experience of designing and installing memorial benches at HGH Granite.

C: Columbarium

A specially designed structure with niches or compartments to store cremated remains. It’s an above-ground burial setting that provides a respectful and organized place for families to remember their loved ones.

Columbarium in Ontario, Canada

D: Diamond Wire Saw

A cutting tool that uses diamond studded cable to slice through granite blocks with precision.

E: Etching

A technique that involves using acid or a laser to create intricate designs, text, or images on the surface of granite. Read more about our etching service

F: Flashing

Also known as frosting, it is the processing of removing the polished finish on granite using sandblast.

G: Grass marker

A flat, ground-level cemetery memorial. It’s installed flush to the ground and is typically made of stone or bronze.

A granite grass marker in a cemetery - granite terms

H: Honing

The process of smoothing and finishing the surface of granite to a matte or satin-like appearance.

I: Inscription

The engraved text or design on a granite monument, often used to commemorate a person or event.

Hand-tooled inscription on granite - granite terms blog

J: Joint

A dressed and cut stone surface where two pieces of stone are joined together, typically referring to the base of the main monument section.

K: Keystone

A wedge-shaped stone positioned at the peak of an arch, that secures all the other stones in position.

L: Lithichrome

A paint-like product applied to panels, carvings, or lettering to modify or intensify their inherent contrast or colour. The product offers a range of hues and tones for customization.

M: Monument

A structure or tablet, with an array of additional names such as memorials, headstones and gravestones, made from stone slabs or blocks, and typically found in cemeteries.

1812 Memorial Monument in Ontario, Canada

N: Nosings

Used in two contexts. On monuments, it refers to any stone projecting beyond the main surface line. On slant markers, it can denote either the top or front surface.

O: Ogee

A distinctive and ornate architectural design feature characterized by a curve that smoothly transitions from a concave to a convex form, resembling an elongated “S” shape. Often found in arches, moldings, and other decorative elements.

P: Porosity

The degree to which granite can absorb liquids, which affects its stain resistance.

Q: Quarrying

The process of extracting granite blocks or slabs from a quarry, often involving heavy machinery and drilling.

granite quarry

R: Restoration

The process of repairing, cleaning, and preserving old or weathered granite monuments to restore their original appearance. Learn more about granite repair.

S: Sandblasting

The process of propelling abrasive materials, such as sand or grit, against the surface of granite to create textures, patterns, or inscriptions. Find out more about our granite sandblasting services.

HGH Granite sandblast machine
HGH’s Sandblasting Machine 

T: Tablet

The main part of a monument without lettering or ornament.

U: Unpolished Granite

The typical term for granite after it has been sawn, but has had no additional finish applied. It provides a subtle and lighter appearance compared to the glossy finish of polished granite.

V: Veining

The natural patterns in granite that are characterized by thin lines or streaks of contrasting colours.

W: Water Jet Cutting

A technology that uses high-pressure water mixed with abrasives to cut intricate designs and shapes in granite.

water jet cutting granite - granite terms

X: Xenolith

Let’s go scientific for this one! A xenolith is a rock fragment that becomes enveloped in an igneous rock, such as granite, during the cooling and solidification process.


In years gone by, this was often used in the granite industry for measuring and cutting granite slabs accurately.

Z: Zoning

Regulations and codes often apply to the use of granite in construction and monument installations, specifying where and how it can be used.

So there you have it…

… An A to Z glossary of the rich tapestry of granite terms and techniques that shape our industry. From abrasives to zoning, each letter represents a component of our day-to-day life at HGH Granite.

A person chiselling letters into stone

Whether you’re exploring the intricacies of granite for the purpose of expanding your knowledge, creating a memorial – or you have a public architecture idea bubbling – we hope that by sharing these terms, we’ve paved the way for an exciting journey into the enduring and inspiring world of granite!

At HGH, we pride ourselves on sourcing the finest granite and providing the best service to our valued clients. If you’re working on a monument project, a timeless headstone, or a public architecture piece, our team – and their many years of expertise – are at your service!

Get in touch with us today.

Did you know that we at HGH Granite have been providing granite services all over Ontario for the last 90 years?

Our vision and business model have helped build a loyal customer base that relies on our expertise and quality workmanship. Over the years, our team has grown with like-minded individuals that share the same passion for providing outstanding granite products and services. Let us help build you your vision.