About Shungite

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Keep reading to discover more about shungite

  • Mineralogy and geology*
  • Metaphysical, Spiritual and Healing** Properties***
  • Common Associations

Mineralogy and Geology of Shungite

Composition:  Carbon (about 30 to 98%)

Color: black

Luster: sub-metallic

Diaphaneity: opaque

Moh’s scale hardness: variable

Specific gravity: variable

Named after: the type locality (see below) in 1879.

Type locality: the Shun’ga area, Onega Lake, Karelia Republic, Northern Region, Russia.

Geological occurrence: coal-type areas, and metamorphosed Pre-cambrian oil shales or sapropelite; only found in the type locality.

Shungite is a non-crystalline biogenic carbon mineraloid with a metastable structure. There are several types of shungite based upon the percentage of organic carbon contained:

Type 1 Shungite (silver shungite or elite) occurs as a black vitreous mineral with a semi-metallic, silvery sheen and conchoidal fracture. It contains 98% organic carbon, and is relatively scarce - accounting for 1% of the shungite found. It occurs in very narrow veins (less than 40cm/16in).  

Type 2 Shungite (black shungite) occurs as a black mineral which can be shaped and polished. It contains 50-70% organic carbon.  

Type 3 Shungite (gray shungite) contains 30-50% organic carbon with abundant quartz.

The deposit of shungite in Karelia was formed about 2 billion years ago and extends over 9,000 sq km (3,475 sq miles). The deposit has been estimated to contain more than 250 gigatonnes of carbon reserves. The deposit is found within a sequence of Precambrian metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks - the main accumulations are concentrated in 9 layers, ranging in thickness from 5 meters (16 ft) to 120 meters (400 ft).

Shungite contains trace amount of fullerenes - C60 molecules shaped like a soccer ball or geodesic dome (named after Buckminster Fuller). 

Once considered an example of abiogenic formation, shungite's biological origin has been confirmed. Shungite is found directly above deposits that were formed in a shallow water carbonate shelf through non-marine evaporitic environments. It has two modes of occurrence - disseminated within the host rock, and as mobilized material. The organic-rich sediments were probably deposited in a brackish lagoonal setting during active rifting. The mobilized shungite (shungite elite) appears to represent migrated hydrocarbons found as either layers/lenses conformable with the host rock layering or as cross-cutting veins. Shungite can also occur as clasts within younger sedimentary rocks.

It was believed, until recently, that shungite was to be found only in the Karelia region of Russia. Additional small deposits are now know in Austria (Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol), the Democratic Republic of Congo (Haut-Katanga), India (Andhra Pradesh), Russia (Chelyabinsk Oblast Zabaykalsky Kral), and in the USA (Michigan).

Spiritual, Metaphysical and Healing Properties

Shungite has only recently become popular in metaphysical, spiritual and healing circles; it is often absent from classic works on metaphysical stones such as Love Is in the Earth or The Crystal Bible.

It was “discovered” (by the metaphysical community in the west) in the 1990’s after Nobel Prize-winning research discovered fullerenes (thought to have anti-oxidant properties) present in the natural stone. Similarly to related material charcoal and carbon blocks, shungite was found to be effective in purifying water.

Shungite is reputed to absorb and eliminate anything hazardous to your body, in particular electromagnetic field radiation, and other toxins. It also promotes a general sense of well-being.

Since the early 18th century, shungite has been used as a folk medical treatment. Peter the Great built Russia's first spa in Karelia to make use of the water purifying properties of shungite and used it to provide purified water for the Russian army. The anti-bacterial properties of shungite have been confirmed by modern testing.  

Common Associations

None traditional


* Mineralogical information is from mindat.org

** Always consult with your medical professional for any physical or long-term healing issues.

*** Metaphysical properties come from: 

Crystal Muse (2017) Heather Askinosie and Timmi Jandro, Hay House, 285 pp.