Is shungite a gemstone?

No, shungite is not a gemstone. Besides, this stone is not even semi-precious! But this fact does not make this rare, beautiful and amazing stone less valuable.

On the contrary, it is a fairly well-known and in-demand mineral (rock) on the market. In this article, you will learn why Karelian shungite is not a gemstone, but it is still valuable. And also, relatively, an expensive stone.

shungite geamstone
black Russian rock and geamstone

Classification of minerals

More than three thousand types of minerals are known in our world!
All minerals are usually classified into three large groups.

  1. Gemstone
  2. Semiprecious stones
  3. Ornamental stones.

What is a gemstone?

A real gemstone must meet three mandatory criteria.

  • Firstly, it must be a rare mineral.
  • Secondly, it must be a durable mineral.
  • Thirdly, it should be a beautiful mineral that can play with all the colors of the rainbow in the light. The brightest and most famous representative of precious stones is a diamond (processed diamond). It is the rarest, hardest and most durable mineral. In addition, it is a fantastically beautiful mineral. This list of precious stones also includes emeralds, rubies and others.

But what if the mineral doesn’t quite meet these strict criteria? In this case, the mineral is classified as semi-precious.

gemstones ruby and diamond
gemstones ruby and diamond

What is a semiprecious stone?

Semiprecious stone is a class of minerals that are inferior in hardness, and are more common than precious stones. But it still has a high cost and beauty. In addition, high-quality cutting and processing of a semiprecious stone can raise its value to the level of a precious stone.

It is also worth noting that an important feature of precious and semi-precious stones is their transparency. This is an important factor that deserves attention when we are on the way to answering our question is shungite a gemstone.

Here are some examples of the most common representatives of semiprecious stones. These are: aquamarine, amethyst, opal, turquoise and others.

But Russian c60 rock from Karelia is still not included in this list. At this point, you and I already quite clearly understand the answer to our question – is shungite a gemstone.

aquamarine and amethyst stones
aquamarine and amethyst stones

Indeed, the last group that we are considering remains. These are group of minerals: Ornamental stones. It is this group of minerals that includes stone from Russia.

What are ornamental stones?

This is the most common group of minerals considered in this article. These are minerals whose reserve in nature is very large and it is easy to extract in large quantities. But still, ornamental stones also have some criteria for classification.

For example, these minerals should have a uniform structure, attractive texture, color, and other visual and physical characteristics. In addition, unlike semi-precious stones (minerals), ornamental stones are mainly rocks.
The rock from Karelia, Russia that is a mineral and a rock at the same time.

How is this possible? Read about it in this article.

Ornamental stones
Ornamental stones

Characteristics of the Russian stone and its value among gemstones

In this section we will find out why the stone is such a sought-after and valuable one. First of all, it should be noted that Karelian stone from Russia can be black and silver color. The silvery Russian mineral of the first type has a silvery beautiful luster and at the same time is an extremely rare rock, but still this shungite is not a gemstone.

Black Russian stone is a rock

Black stone type 3 is a rock similar to coal. This type of the Russian rock c60 has unique properties that other minerals do not have. It is able to block EMF. In addition, this black rock effectively cleans the water from harmful impurities.

Yes, black stone of type 3 is not a hard and beautiful iridescent stone. But this is a rare rock that has unusual unique abilities.

You may ask why this black type is rare? I will answer because the only deposit of this rock is only in the north of the Russian Federation.

In addition, black Karlian shungite looks very beautiful and impressive like a gemstone. This becomes possible after this rock is processed and given a geometric shape.

Just look at these amazing pyramids, spheres or pendants made of natural Russian stone type 3. Agree that this is black Russian stone — it is a very beautiful rock. This stone is a worthy rival for precious stones, if we take into account the facts that it is a rare rock with unique abilities.

Next, I would like to tell you about a slightly different type of Russian rocks. This is silver-colored type 1, commonly known as elite noble stone.

black shungite mineral
Natural black type 3 mineral from Karelia

A very beautiful and rare Elite shungite but not a gemstone

Stop, stop, stop, why the mineral? Indeed, why did I call elite stone a mineral if it is a rock? The fact is that elite silver stone from Russia is a homogeneous mineral that consists of 98% of the allotropic form of carbon. That is why, for example, this type of Russian c60 rocks can be classified as a mineral.

In addition, elite shungite mineral has a brilliant, charming and beautiful silver color like a gemstone. And it is also an even rarer mineral than black stone. This is such a rare and beautiful mineral that it is of great value to collectors all over the world. That is why this type of Russian rock has a very high price, if we are talking about samples of elite type 1 stones of large size.

Maybe then this type 1 shungite is a gemstone? No, it is not a precious stone, unfortunately, and maybe for good luck. At least in officially recognized classifiers of minerals, both of these types of the stone are not recognized as precious or semiprecious stones. But now, we understand with you that nevertheless this unique rare stone occupies a worthy high place in a person’s life.

elite shungite stone
elite silver type 1 mineral


In this article, we did not go into the details and nuances of the classification of various minerals. We have considered only three of the most famous and common categories of beautiful and valuable minerals.

The purpose of this article was to find an answer to the question – is shungite a gemstone. I sincerely hope that this article was interesting and informative for you. I am also sure that you have received an unambiguous answer to our question.