Variograms and covariance functions are key tools in geostatistics. However, various properties, characterizations, and decomposition theorems have been established for covariance functions only. We present analogous results for variograms and explore the connections with covariance functions. Our findings include criteria for covariance functions on intervals, and we apply them to exponential models, fractional Brownian motion, and locally polynomial covariances. In particular, we characterize isotropic locally polynomial covariance functions of degree 3.