Discovered in and named after Shunga village in the Karelia region of the northern part of Russia, Shungite is one of the abiogenic petroleum formations. It is a lustrous, black and non-crystalline mineraloid that is comprised of over 98% carbon. The stone naturally occurs in different forms. The major difference between the various forms of this stone is the percentage of carbon they contain and their degree of shininess. Shungite 1 has between 98 to 100 percent carbon content while Shungite 2 categories are made up of 35 to 80 percent of carbon. Shungite 3, 4, and 5 are those with 20-35, 10-20 and less than 10 percent carbon components respectively.
Shungite has several modes of occurrence. Though it may be possible for this gemstone to be formed in younger sedimentary rocks as clasts, it ordinarily occurs as an apparently mobilized material. It can also be disseminated within a host rock. Stone of Life as it is also called, is normally available in black or silvery-black with an opaque appearance but there are some variations that are brown in color. With a density of 1.85 to 2.00, a Mohs hardness of 3.5 to 4.0, and matte or metallic luster, this black stone exhibits an amorphous and non-crystalline habit. This gemstone has an uneven fracture. Given its physical properties, this black stone has poor optical effect giving zero refractive index, pleochroism, fluorescence, and visible double refraction.
Often referred to as Black Ochre, Shungite is believed to have some stunning healing properties attributed to its hollow carbon structure called Bucky balls or fullerenes which are rich in natural minerals. It is the only crystal that naturally contains these allotropes of carbon which usually lie at the vertices of a polyhedron with two or more hexagonal and 12 pentagonal faces. Given its electric conductivity capabilities, many believe that the Stone of Life offers protection against electromagnetic radiation oozing out from such electronics and appliances as cell phones, microwaves, computers, and TVs.
Many utilize the Stone of Life for purification purposes. For many years, people fetched water from the springs close to the source of this stone for drinking with the belief they will become purified and healed. Today, the purifying power of this stone has been technologically deployed in industries and home for the preparation of drinking water. Furthermore, it is also believed that this gemstone relaxes and calms the bearer thanks to its efficiency in eliminating negative energy.
Shungite is said to have multiple medicinal effects. In traditional medicine and crystal healing, it is considered as an immune system booster. It can also be administered for the healing of various skin diseases and elimination of free radical and muscular-skeletal disorder. Other illnesses and health conditions that are traditionally treated with Black Ochre are respiratory problems, insomnia, headaches, GI problems, kidney disease, liver disease and minor headache. It has an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. Due to its healing properties, this black stone is nicknamed the healing stone by many people.