There are many times when a stone sculpture is not really necessary, but a monument of engraved or etched stone would be perfect. Graveyards are a good example of stones that have been carved into, and stone cutters have spent centuries creating monuments to those who have passed. In the modern world, cutting names and dates into a headstone by hand is too costly for many people. Rather than forego the beauty of a headstone, they have found less expensive alternatives.
Modern lasers have many applications, but cutting stones for sculptures is not one of them. Etching and engraving lines into stones is possible, and it can often be done at a lower cost. It requires a computer to guide the laser, and there are many lasers of different strengths and programs available today. Graphic artists have found this is an easy way to create without endless hours of hard labor to achieve the final result.
As with many other forms of art, the laser does have its limitations. It can be programmed to create lines in the surface of the stone, but fine detail is not always possible. This is due to the fact that lasers actually melt into the surface of the stone, so there are no actual cuts. While any shape or curve to the desired engraving is available to the artist, the depth of the cut is a limiting factor.
Stones are not usually flat surfaces, and it places more limits on the ability of the artist to etch or engrave the stone face. They will need more power in the laser to keep their art at the same depth when finished, so they must plan their work to fit into the natural shape of the stone. While it is possible to purchase stones with flat or polished surfaces, cost is an inhibiting factor for many.