Shungite is a modern material, the first instance of the name being coined only dating back to 1879. Then, the material could refer to any mineral with shungite inclusions-- and at the time, this meant just about any stone with carbon inclusions. Over time, we’ve been able to identify what makes shungite special-- which comes from the biological material it comes from. The name is derived from where it was discovered, like many other minerals -- Shunga, Russia, has the largest deposits of shungite. Shungite is also almost exclusively sourced from Russia, and the mineral has been illusive in most other places in the world. 

What we do know now is that shungite is almost entirely carbon. Carbon is an organic compound, and an excessively abundant element found in the earth’s crust. Carbon is also found abundantly within our bodies! We do know that because of this, shungite was likely a prehistoric plant or animal of some kind, that remained buried in the earth’s crust for thousands of years, the pressure and age transforming it into a close relative to carbon. We have yet to discover exactly what these organisms were, but they likely came from prehistoric swamps and volcanic ash.


Shungite has a non-crystalline formation, making it brittle in its raw form and very desirable for pigments in paints. Carbon-based black paint has been a new scientific and artistic achievement  in the last decade. These paints create a depthless, abyssal black that absorbs all light. Looking at these extremely dark paints have created scientific opportunities, such as hiding satellites from view in the night sky. For artists and goths, this new black is an exciting opportunity, but these paints have yet to hit the mass market for regular consumption. You may need to wait a little while longer to obtain a piece of clothing that will finally let you become one with the void-- but the possibility is definitely within our lifetime. 


Because these shungite beads are highly carbon-based, they are very light in comparison to other black alternatives. Compared with onyx, a dense, chalcedony-based mineral, does provide a rich black. However, shungite has a unique, metallic appearance. One could compare it with graphite, which is made primarily from carbon, since it does have a lusty appearance. These beads could look sleek when paired with crystal quartz for a monotone design. Their dark color could be a nice spacer bead to provide breathing room in more colorful designs. If you’re designing something with our meteorite beads, they could make a light alternative, as meteorite is mostly iron, and tends to be somewhat heavy. 


The metaphysical properties of shungite tend to be very attractive to customers who desire to protect themselves from EMFs. Carbon is an especially conductive material, so it is said that wearing these beads can help direct the flow of unwanted energies through the stones, rather than the wearer. These stones can also aid in pulling negative energy from the wearer in general, which may help you to keep a more positive, focused attitude.