Height - 5 cm
Width - 5 cm
Length - 5 cm
In its purest form, Shungite is known as Grade 1, Elite or Noble. Grade 1 Shungite is a black, lustrous semi metallic looking mineraloid and is almost 99% by weight made of organic carbon. This grade 1 Shungite is mined in the village of Shunga, Russia after which it is named.
Shungite is also often available in two other grades known as grade 2 and grade 3. These have a lower percentage by weight of organic carbon which may be between 30 and 70%. These lower carbon content versions are sometimes referred to as "Shungite Bearing Rock” which is probably a very accurate description.
Allegedly, less than 1% of the Shungite found is the grade 1 material and so it is regarded as being quite rare. It is a material of often understated beauty and a particular "feel” to it. It looks similar to Obsidian in that it has the appearance of a solidified liquid and has no real crystalline structure that is visible to the naked eye. It also is very deceptive in that at first glance it looks quite heavy when, in fact, the opposite is true. The grade 1 Shungite is almost impossible to polish or shape because it is so brittle and therefore it is nearly always only available in its rough form. Large pieces of grade 1 Shungite are very rare and pieces over 100 grams are seldom available.
How was Shungite formed?
Shungite is thought to be billions of years old, it can only be found in one place on Earth - This is on the North side of Lake Onega in the republic of Karelia which is located in North West Russia. For many years this remarkable stone was known locally as Black Slate and takes its name from the nearest village to where it was first discovered, Shunga..
The deposits of Shungite are both Sedimentary and Volcanic. They are extremely highly enriched with organic carbon and the deposits cover a huge area of around 9000 square kilometres. These deposits are believed to have formed between 2.5 and 1.6 billion years ago as the Earths crust first stabilised.
Scientists believe that the Shungite was formed from the very first signs of life on Earth, those organisms that lived in the oceans and waters long before any pollutants formed. The lagoons which existed in what is now Karelia were extremely organism rich and contained many minerals and salts. as these organisms died, their remains settled on the bottom and mixed with the silt and mud, forming layers of sediment which as the Earths temperature rose were transformed into a petroleum or bitumen form of hydrocarbons which over long periods of time, metamorphosed into the Shungite we have now.
The lesser grades of Shungite bearing rock were formed by these hydrocarbons seeping into the surrounding bedrock which had the effect of enriching it with Shungite. This process is believed to have taken place over a billion years before the creation of petroleum and coal 300 to 600 million years ago. Over the years, scientists and geologists studying Shungite have debated how it was formed, very much like the continuing debate into the formation of Moldavite. And just like Moldavite, one theory is that it was carried to Earth by a giant meteorite. This theory came about because Shungite is rich in natural Fullerenes and other natural occurrences of Fullerenes have been discovered in some Meteorites. The current scientific train of thought seems to favour the origin from metamorphosed organic material.
How was Shungite formed?
The material we now know as Shungite has been well known in Karelia for a very long time. In the 1700”s copper was refined near Lake Onega. Often the labourers at the factory would be made ill by the process and also by the copper itself. Local legends describe hoe the workers would recover in just a few days simply by drinking the natural spring water of the area which had passed through the layers of Shungite deep below ground.
The very first spa in Russia was built on the command of Czar Peter the Great (1672-1725) so that he could benefit from the purifying and antiseptic properties of this amazing "Shungite Water”. Peter the Great went on to order that each of his soldiers should carry a piece of Shungite in the flask they used to carry their water in order for them to benefit from disinfected, clean water. Sadly, after Peter the Great died in 1725 the spa was closed and the knowledge of the amazing Shungite was pretty much lost by all apart from those living in Karelia.
In the early 20th century research began again and new medical studies were carried out. These studies were halted by the second world war and research did not really re-start until the 1960’s when local clinical research was carried out. Shungite became known internationally in the 1990’s when the possible existence of Fullerene molecules in the Shungite was investigated.
In 1985 a new discovery was made regarding a previously unknown chemical structure of Carbon. This structure consists of at least 60 atoms of pure Carbon forming a hollow, sort of cage like structure in hexagonal and pentagonal shapes joined together in a shape somewhat like a football. This structure was reminiscent of the geodesic domes designed by the architect Richard Buckmaster Fuller and led to them being known as Fullerenes and "Buckyballs”. although there has been much published about the work on Fullerenes and many questions remain to be answered.