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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?

Technically, shungite is classified as a mineraloid. Mineraloids are inorganic and naturally occurring, and they don’t exhibit any crystallinity. As a result, while many people refer to the stone as the shungite crystal, that’s a misnomer in a scientific sense.

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, which are molecules comprised of 60 carbon atoms arranged spherically.

Shungite can also include a wide variety of 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 is considered a soft stone. Overall, it only ranks between 3.5 and 4 on the Mohs hardness scale. That means it’s not challenging to scratch or break the gem, but it also makes shaping and polishing easier in some cases.

The variance is because the exact composition of shungite stones isn’t standardized. As a result, different percentages of carbon can alter the hardness, but most specimens fall within the range stated above.

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 its found had long been using the stone for a wide variety of 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 have 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

black 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. Additionally, even if fullerenes have specific protective properties, 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 bases 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 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 of the commonly touted shungite benefits is its 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.

Water Purification

using shungite to purify water 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 is 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 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 produce a sense of harmony. Some also believe that shungite has EMF-blocking potential, specifically the various electromagnetic fields, 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, 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, and you may occasionally see cabochons. Shungite beads are also used for creating pendulums used for certain spiritual practices.

Stones Similar to Shungite

There are a few stones that may have an appearance that’s similar to shungite. For a gray stone with a metallic lustre, hematite is a prime example. While its base colour may come across as lighter than shungite and it’s a bit glossier overall, the two stones can be reasonable stand-ins for one another.

Another stone in deep gray or black with a metallic sheen is magnetite. It’s not a widely available stone, which can hinder its ability to be a reliable alternative. Magnetite is also magnetic, which can prove problematic in some applications.

Other deep gray or black stones have a relatively glossy sheen but may not have the metallic quality. Onyx and obsidian are both prime examples. Black agate may also have a similar appearance, though it can have banding or mottling that isn’t usually seen in shungite.

Black coral may also be a reasonable substitute when it comes to appearance. However, the trade and acquisition of genuine black coral is banned in many areas, though there is faux black coral on the market that may have a similar look.

Another option is black jade. As with black agate, it may feature patterning or mottling that separates it from shungite. However, there is often a resemblance if a piece is pure black.

Jet – which is also a mineraloid – can have similar colouring and lustre, too. It’s technically formed when wood is subject to deep pressure, so some pieces may appear brown instead of black.

Finally, it’s critical to note that some human-made materials may look like genuine shungite. One example is hematine – also known as magnetic hematite, hemalike, or hemalyke – which is often used as a substitute for magnetite due to its limited availability, and it also possesses a magnetic quality. However, since the colouring is similar to hematite and hematite can resemble shungite, it can work well if you’re open to a manufactured stone, particularly if you’d like something that’s magnetic.

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