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Shungite stone metaphysical and healing properties

Shungite Stone: Healing Properties, Benefits & Uses

With the rise in popularity within specific belief systems about the potential benefits of healing crystals, gems such as shungite are used as part of complementary and alternative medicine practices. However, the shungite stone is also beautiful to behold, causing it to make its way into jewelry.

In recent years, the shungite stone has gotten increased attention within the healing crystal community for many reasons. But what is shungite, and does it live up to some of the claims? If you’re curious about the shungite crystal, here’s what you need to know.

What Is Shungite?

Shungite is a rare stone that’s dark gray or nearly black. Its lustre can vary, though it often accepts a decent polish. The shungite gem is also relatively lightweight for its size, and its natural texture is often lumpy. Often, in its raw state, it looks similar to coal or asphalt.

What most attracts people to shungite is the presence of fullerenes in the structure. However, fullerenes don’t typically occur in shungite, so their appearance in a specimen is also considered highly rare.

Is Shungite a Rock or Mineral?

Shungite is considered a rock because it comprises several minerals, including various forms of carbon and silicates. Rocks are aggregates of one or more minerals or mineraloids, whereas a mineral is a naturally occurring substance with a definite chemical composition and crystalline structure.

What Is the Mineral Composition of Shungite?

polished shungite stone

The shungite crystal contains a significant amount of carbon. Some carbon molecules' structures and unique appearance can make some specimens stand out from many other gems. Shungite can contain fullerenes, molecules of 60 carbon atoms arranged spherically.

Shungite can also include various other minerals, such as quartz, pyrite, mica, and albite. However, carbon is always a significant portion of its composition, though the exact percentage can vary.

What Is Shungite on the Mohs Scale?

Shungite's hardness on the Mohs scale, which measures a mineral's scratch resistance, varies but is generally around 3.5 to 4. This makes it relatively soft compared to many other minerals.

Where Are Shungite Deposits Found?

shungite abandoned mine in Shunga, Russia

Shungite is found in Russia, primarily in the Karelia region near Shunga. Shunga sits on the shores of Lake Onega in the Zazhoginskoye deposit. Overall, the primary field is approximately 240 square kilometres in size, and it also features other deposits, such as dolomite.

Small amounts of shungite have also been found in other parts of Russia. However, the quantities aren’t large enough to deem them significant sources in most cases. One of the only other substantial occurrences is in Vozhomozero, where shungite was found in formations that may have formed about 2 billion years ago.

Shungite History

Shungite was officially named in 1879 by Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Inostrantsev, a Russian geologist. However, the people living in the region where it was found had long been using the stone for various practices, particularly those focused on healing and water purification.

One interesting shungite story included Peter the Great, a renowned Russian Tsar. It was said that he was told to bathe in waters near an outcropping that featured the stone and that he emerged feeling highly refreshed. After that, he was said to drink shungite water and commissioned the creation of a spa in the area. It’s also thought that Peter the Great’s victory in the Battle of Poltava was due to his troops consuming water purified by shungite.

The presence of fullerenes in shungite wasn’t noted until 1992 when it was found that they can occur naturally in the stone. Additionally, it wasn’t until 2006 that Saint Petersburg University studied its use for water purification, ultimately determining that the shungite stone had antibacterial properties. In Russia, those findings are one of the reasons that shungite is still used for water purification in some areas today.

However, shungite has also served other purposes over time. There’s evidence that the gemstone was used as a paint pigment for over three hundred years, and it’s been listed as part of colours known as “carbon black” and “shungite natural black.”

Types of Shungite Stones

Elite Silver Shungite

Elite silver Shungite

Elite shungite is generally considered the purest form of shungite, and it usually has a carbon percentage at or above 98 percent. It’s typically shiny, giving the black or deep gray stone a silvery sheen, which is why some refer to it as elite silver shungite.

When it comes to the nature of the lustre, most will describe the one seen with elite shungite as metallic. This version isn’t as ideal for cutting or shaping, though it can accept a polish. However, this type is most likely to contain fullerenes.

Black Shungite

rough shungite stone

Black shungite rocks are usually at least 50 percent carbon. Compared to elite silver shungite, it’s far easier to shape and polish. As a result, this version is more widely found in shungite jewelry.

When it comes to colour, as the name suggests, it’s usually black or near-black. Before it’s polished, the lustre is typically semi-dull. However, after polishing, it can take on quite a shine, which is another reason it’s often used in jewelry.

Gray Shungite

gray shungite

As the name suggests, gray shungite is usually a shade of gray, with the exact hue depending on the amount of carbon present. In most cases, the carbon percentage is between 30 and 50.

Usually, the lustre on gray shungite is duller than the other versions. Additionally, it’s least likely to contain fullerenes.

What Are Fullerenes in Shungite?

Fullerenes are carbon molecules with a specific structure featuring 60 carbon atoms bound together to form a hollow sphere, resembling the patterning on a soccer ball. Fullerenes were first discovered in 1985 by Harold W. Kroto, Richard E. Smalley, and Robert F. Curl, Jr.

Over the years, fullerenes have significantly impacted science and technology due to their unique capabilities and broad potential. They’ve played a role in the development of nanotechnology and breakthroughs in the field of superconductivity.

Fullerenes are also being explored as options for water purification and wastewater treatment, and they are even used for this purpose today, though on a relatively limited basis. The primary reason is that scientific analysis shows that fullerenes can address specific organic substances or inorganic substances that may contaminate water, and they have antioxidant and antiviral properties.

Are There Shungite Healing Properties?

noble shungite

The healing properties of shungite are a hotly debated topic, particularly since fullerenes are shown to have significant potential due to their antiviral and antioxidant properties. However, shungite isn’t inherently a miracle stone. It’s not a scientifically proven treatment for viral diseases or any medical condition. Even if fullerenes have specific protective properties against other viral diseases, not all shungite contains fullerenes.

Still, it’s helpful to understand the nature of the claims people make and their degree of accuracy. Here’s a closer look at specific shungite healing properties many people tout.

Antioxidant Properties

Some research suggests that shungite properties include antioxidant qualities. When people discuss the scientific basis for using shungite in this fashion, they typically refer to research conducted on mice exposed to UVB radiation. The exposure led to oxidative stress, and researchers used a shungite solution to address the irradiation induced skin damage. When applied, the shungite solution increased antioxidant enzyme activity.

While the study does show the rare mineral has some promise, no research involving humans was conducted to assess whether it had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that assisted people. As a result, while there’s potential, it’s not proven that shungite has any antioxidative benefit for wearing or when drinking water treated with the stone.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Another commonly touted shungite benefit is its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Again, the study involving the mice is often cited as proof of shungite’s capabilities in this arena, as it did show that the solution lowered levels of cytokines and other inflammatory markers.

However, no research has been done on people to provide shungite’s potential as an anti-inflammatory further. As a result, it’s not considered a proven treatment for inflammation or a method for preventing inflammatory reactions in the human body's immune system.

Water Purification

using shungite to purify water and destroy harmful pathogens does not work without a filtration system

Many people believe that the benefits of shungite for water filtration have potential. Carbon-based water filters are widely used today, and shungite's origins are primarily carbon. It seemingly purifies water and removes organic and inorganic contaminants when the stone is used as a filtration mechanism.

There’s also some scientific evidence now to suggest that shungite may have some antibacterial and antiviral properties. But it’s critical to note that those benefits may only relate to shungite stones with fullerenes, which aren’t part of all shungite crystals.

Additionally, simply placing shungite in water isn’t necessarily sufficient to treat water that contains contaminants. Filtration requires water to pass through layers to trap impurities, which doesn’t occur when a stone of genuine shungite is put in a glass, water bottle, or similar receptacle with contaminated water.

Shungite Metaphysical Properties

Depending on a person’s belief system, the shungite meaning and shungite metaphysical properties can vary. Many consider it a highly grounding stone and feel it has spiritual wisdom and can create harmony. Some also believe that shungite has EMF-blocking potential, specifically the various electromagnetic radiation fields and frequencies from household and personal electronic devices.

Due to its colouring, some connect the metaphysical properties of shungite to the root chakra. Others feel that the shungite crystal meaning focuses more on eliminating any negative energy or bad luck from the physical human body, essentially serving as a form of purifying or protective gemstone.

Shungite Jewelry

beads made of shungite

As with many stones that aren’t precious or semi-precious, shungite doesn’t typically make it into jewelry sold at chain stores. There isn’t enough demand to justify mass production, and variances in the appearance and quality also make it ill-suited to that application.

However, independent jewellers often produce shungite jewelry. Typically, you’ll find a shungite necklace or a shungite bracelet comprised of shungite beads. Polished stones in organic shapes are also widely used; you may occasionally see cabochons. Shungite beads are also used for creating pendulums used for certain spiritual practices.

Stones Similar to Shungite

Several stones resemble shungite in appearance, offering alternatives with varying degrees of similarity. Hematite, with its gray metallic lustre, is a close match, albeit slightly lighter and glossier than shungite. Magnetite, another option, features a deep gray or black colour with a metallic sheen but is less common and magnetic, which may not suit all uses.

Onyx and obsidian are glossy, deep gray or black stones without the metallic aspect of shungite. Similar in appearance, black agate may display banding or mottling not typically found in shungite. Black coral, subject to trade restrictions, its faux counterparts, and black jade, which might show unique patterning, are also alternatives.

Jet, a mineraloid formed under high pressure from wood, shares shungite's colour and lustre but may sometimes appear brown. Additionally, synthetic options like hematine (also known as magnetic hematite or hemalike) mimic shungite's look and are used as substitutes for magnetite, offering a magnetic quality for those open to manufactured stones.

What is the importance of shungite?

Shungite is prized for its potential health benefits and protective properties against electromagnetic fields (EMFs). It's believed to purify water, thanks to its high carbon content and the presence of fullerenes—a type of carbon molecule with potential antioxidant properties.

Is shungite a coal?

Not exactly. Shungite is often referred to as a form of carbon-rich rock, similar to coal, but its high fullerene content distinguishes it. While both shungite and coal are carbonaceous, shungite's unique structure and properties set it apart.

Is shungite a volcanic?

No, shungite is not volcanic. It's thought to have formed from the sedimentation of organic matter, primarily algae, over billions of years rather than from volcanic activity.

What is the shungite from space?

This refers to the theory that the fullerenes found in shungite may have an extraterrestrial origin, as similar structures have been found in cosmic dust. However, the exact origin of shungite's fullerenes is still a topic of research and debate.

What are the chemical properties of shungite?

Shungite primarily comprises carbon (up to 98% in its purest form). It also contains fullerenes, a unique form of carbon molecule, and minor amounts of silicates and other minerals. Its chemical properties, particularly the presence of fullerenes, are what make shungite unique.

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