The teardrop shape and symbols occur in cultures worldwide and can represent ancient gods, sacred beliefs, joy, and sorrow, depending on where it is displayed and how. Today, we look at some culturally significant teardrop symbols and discuss the meaning of the teardrop headstone.
Teardrop Symbols Through the Years
The Eye of Horus in ancient Egypt contains a teardrop marking sometimes found below the eye. The Wadjet (also called udjat or utchat) is representative of the falcon's eye and the markings around it and was also associated with the Sun and the Sun God, Ra.
Paisley, or the paisley pattern, is an ornamental textile design that uses the boteh or buta, a teardrop-shaped motif with a curved upper end. Persian in origin, it became popular in the West during the 18th and 19th centuries following imports of post-Mughal Empire versions of the designs from India. Some say the paisley design is a stylized version of a floral spray and a cypress tree: a Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity. Others say this bent cedar design represents strength, resistance, and modesty.
In the case of jewelry such as pendants, rings, or earrings, the teardrop symbol can represent both the grieving of a lost one, or even happy tears of joy, depending on the significance to the wearer or jewelry maker.
In New Zealand, the Ngāi Tahu is the principal Māori iwi (tribe) of the South Island. They are the kaitiaki (the people responsible for protecting something in nature or the environment) of the green stone called Pounamu. This stone is considered taonga (treasure) and absorbs the mana (spiritual power or prestige) as they pass from generation to generation. Some heirloom pieces have so many generations behind them that they have their own mana and could be given as gifts to seal important agreements.
One of the many carved shapes of Pounamu is the Roimata. This teardrop shape is widely regarded as the symbol of weeping, grief, and renewed life, embodying the energy of healing, shared emotions, empathy, and connectivity to the land.
The teardrop symbol is also strongly associated with water and rain.
World Wide Origins
Most likely, the origin of a teardrop-shaped headstone came from the idea and symbolism of the grief, sorrow, and tears we shed when someone we love passes on—a symbol not truly exclusive to one area of the world.
A teardrop-shaped headstone is an upright monument with a rounded base that gradually tapers toward the top and ends at a point. It can be stylized in many ways, but the basic teardrop shape is always recognizable. Teardrop headstones can mark the burial place of a loved one. It can also be used as a family gathering memorial for those whose loved ones request to be cremated and their ashes scattered or interred elsewhere. Teardrop-shaped headstones can be made from a wide variety of materials, but we always recommend choosing granite for exceptional durability and longevity.
Cost and Types
The cost of granite teardrop-shaped tombstones can range widely, from as low as a couple thousand dollars, to many times that. The price range depends on the material, the size, the quality of the artistry, and how many letters and images are engraved.
- Single teardrop - A single teardrop headstone marks the resting place or memorializes a single person.
- Double teardrop - A double teardrop, also known as a companion headstone, is ideal for marking the memory or burial of a married couple, a partnership, or two very close people buried side by side.
- Infant teardrop - Infant teardrop memorials are often smaller, symbolizing the loss of a little one.
- Teardrop headstone with bench - Some families enjoy spending time at their loved ones' graves, so various teardrop-shaped monuments incorporate a bench. You can also choose to purchase a memorial bench separately. Ensure the cemetery allows a memorial bench on your loved one's grave before buying it.
While we cannot pinpoint where and who created the first teardrop-shaped headstone, many choose this beautifully shaped monument to represent their grieving and tears shed for those who have passed.
If you are visiting us today and reading this blog because you have recently lost someone close to you and are seeking meaning or a headstone. In that case, you have our deepest condolences, and we hope that this article on teardrop-shaped headstones has answered questions and brought you comfort.