Symbols may be used to create a
truly personal tribute to your loved one.

Find A Monument Guild Member
Near You



Stone Finishes

Contact Us

Symbols | Flowers | Legacies in Stone

Symbols -
While this list is not a complete list of all symbols used in memorial art, it serves as a comprehensive guide to some of the more popular symbols found in cemeteries. 

Aesculapian Rod:  A serpent and staff thought by many to be the proper symbol for doctors instead of the winged Caduceus.

Anchor:  Hope; Jesus the anchor of the soul, traditional maritime symbol

Axe: A vow, consecration, defense

Banner:  Triumph, victory

Beads:  Prayer

Bell:  Invitation, call to worship

Birds:  Human souls

Bishop's Staff:  Pastoral authority

Book:  The Bible, Divine authorship, knowledge, scripture

Broken Column:  Death

Butterfly:  The Resurrection

Caduceus:  Symbol of the medical profession (There are many variations depending upon the area of specialty.)

Candle:  Jesus Christ the Light of the World, also the symbol of devotion

Candlesticks (two):  Jesus’ qualities as both God and man

Candlesticks (three) or Three-Branched Candelabrum:  The Holy Trinity

Candlesticks (five) or Five-Branched Candelabrum:  The five wounds of Christ

Candlesticks (six) or Six-Branched Candelabrum:  The six days of creation or the six hours spent by Jesus on the cross

Candlesticks (seven) or Seven-Branched Candelabrum:  The Church, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, or the Seven Sacraments

Circle:  Eternity, completeness, perfection

Crossed Keys:  St. Peter, Gates of Heaven

Crown:  Rank, sovereignty, royalty

Crown of Thorns:  The Suffering Savior,  a Passion symbol

Cross:  Christ and His atoning death, Christ’s redemption of fallen humanity

Dove:  Peace, purity, meekness, modesty, humility, the Holy Ghost, divine inspiration, innocence

Eagle:  Christ, Holy Baptism, St. John

Festoon:  Memory

Fire:  Martyrdom, zeal, inspiration, youthful fervor, hell, purgatory, sacrifice, purification

Fish:  Jesus

Fish/Three:  The Trinity

Five-Pointed Star:  The wounds of Christ, the Star of Jacob, Divine guidance and protection

Flaming Sword:  Expulsion from Eden, with shield: St. Michael

Grapes:  The Eucharist,  twelve bunches: the Apostles, clusters of grapes on a running vine: Jesus and His followers,  the Church, unity

Hand:  Issuing from clouds:  the Father

Harp:  Joy, music, symbol of St. Cecilia patron saint of musicians, associated with David and worship, worship in heaven

Heart:  Christian charity, surmounted by a flame: intense zeal or devotion

Lamb:  Innocence, purity, sacrifice, Christ

Lamp:  Knowledge, truth, enlightenment, Word of God, good works, Divine inspiration

Pastoral Staff:  Authority

Pierced Heart:  With a lance or spear, a Passion symbol

Plenty, Horn of:  The Lord's bounty, Thanksgiving

Pomegranate:  The Resurrection, immortality, royalty, fertility, The Church

Pyramid:  Light, strength

Rainbow:  Promise

Ram:  Sacrifice

Rod:  Official power, also a Passion symbol

Rope:  A Passion symbol, Judas' death

Rosary:  Prayer

Rose:  Love, Christ, The Nativity.

Rosette:  An ornament in the form of a conventional rose or other design of circular form, used as a decoration

Scallop Shell:  Baptism, the Baptism of Christ, Christian pilgrimage, and marine affairs

Scythe:  Death

Serpent:  Death, wisdom

Seven Golden Candlesticks:  The Seven Churches of Asia Minor

Seven-Branched Candlestick:  The Church, The Seven Churches of Asia Minor, The Seven Angels of the Apocalypse, The Seven Gifts of the Sheep:  Christians, twelve sheep: The Twelve Apostles, sheep and goats:  the redeemed and the lost

Shield:  Faith, protection

Shells:  Christianity

Shepherd’s Crook:  Authority, Dominion

Staff:  Religious jurisdiction, kindness, shepherd-like qualities/responsibilities

Star:  Christ, life

Sword:  Power, justice, authority, martyrdom

Triangle:  Trinity

Trumpet:  Call to worship, call of the Holy Spirit, Judgment Day, resurrection

Urn:  Death, sorrow (draped)

Wings:  Aspiration, flight of the Gospel


Flowers -
While this list is not a complete list of all flowers, trees and other plants used in memorial art, it serves as a comprehensive guide to some of the more popular symbols found in cemeteries.

Apple:  The fall of man, sin, Eve, discord, Virgin Mary

Apple Blossom:  Fame

Azalea:  Temperance

Calla Lily:  Sympathy, zeal

Clover:  Industry

Cornucopia/Horn of Plenty:  Bounty, blessings, Thanksgiving

Cultivated Rose:  Everlasting love

Daisy:  The Christ Child's innocence, youth, righteousness, innocence

Dogwood:  Crucifixion

Easter Lily:  Resurrection

Grape:  Charity

Grape Vine:  The Eucharist, The Church, unity, Christ and his followers

Holly:  Christmas

Iris:  God-like qualities, eloquence, a message, protection

Ivy:  Memory, remembrance, faithfulness, friendship, (often seen with oak)

Laurel Wreath:  Triumph, victory, distinction, reward, good report

Lily:  Easter, resurrection, the Virgin Mary, purity

Lily of the Valley:  The Virgin Mary, humility, purity, return of happiness

Morning Glory:  Resurrection, youth, promise, bonds of love and affection

Oak:  Strength, virtue, character, eternity, endurance, forgiveness, independence (often seen with ivy)

Olive Branch:  Peace, victory

Orange Blossom:  Matrimony, chastity, purity

Palm:  Victory, eternal peace, heavenly reward, success, righteousness, martyrdom, victory over sin and death

Papyrus:  Love

Passion Flower:  Crucifixion, Passion of Christ

Pine:  Eternity, everlasting life

Pineapple:  Friendship, hospitality

Pine Cone:  Fertility, regeneration, healing

Poinsettia:  Christmas, birth of Hope

Pomegranate:  Resurrection, immortality, royalty, eternity, The Church

Poppy:  Sleep, consolation, rest

Rose:  Love, Christ, Nativity, joy, martyrdom

Rosette:  Decorative form of rose in a circle

Sunflower:  Adoration, glory, the soul turning to Christ

Thistle:  Independence, austerity, sin, the fall of man

Tulip:  Love, charity, declaration of love, ardent affection

Violets:  Modesty, humility, graciousness, affection, faithfulness, sweetness, loyalty

Wheat:  Riches, thanksgiving, life, bread of life, Body of Christ

Wheat/Broken:  Death

Wheat/Bundle:  Harvest, bounty

Wild Rose:  Love, Christ, Messianic promise


© 2003 Monument Guild