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What is karelian shungite?

What is karelian shungite?
Shungite stones of black color of the third type from Karelia.

The simplest answer to the question of What is karelian shungite will be is shungite from Karelia. Shungite is Karelian because its place of origin is the Russian region of Karelia. The word Shungite comes from the name of the village where the rarest mineral shungite of the first type was found. This village is called Shunga. Therefore, you can consider the phrase Shungite from Karelia and the word shungite as synonyms.

Karelia is the place where shungite came from.

shungite from karelia
Location of Karelia on the planet.

Nestled in the northern reaches of Europe, the Karelian region boasts an awe-inspiring natural beauty that captivates the soul. Dotted with pristine lakes, lush forests, and dramatic landscapes, this untouched gem is a paradise for nature enthusiasts.

Karelia’s Majestic Lakes.

shungite from karelia
Karelian lake.

Karelia is a land of lakes, and each one holds its own enchanting charm. The iconic Lake Ladoga, Europe’s largest freshwater lake, shimmers under the sun, inviting visitors to indulge in peaceful boat rides.

Lake Onega, adorned with the ethereal Kizhi Island and its UNESCO-listed wooden churches, offers a glimpse into the region’s rich history and cultural heritage. Meanwhile, the lesser-known Lake Syamozero surprises with secluded coves and an aura of tranquility.

What is karelian shungite stone quarry
Zazhoginsky quarry.

Karelian shungite is an ancient mineral, whose age is about 2 billion years. Shungite has unique properties, including the ability to protect against EMF radiation. This rare mineral is also used for water purification.

Shungite stone has a unique chemical composition, which contains free amorphous carbon. Also, scientists discovered molecules of fullerenes c60 and c70 in Karelian shungite.

sculpture fullerene c60
C60 fullerene sculpture dedicated to fullerene molecules found in Karelian shungite. Russia, city of Petrozavodsk, capital of the Republic of Karelia

There are several shungite deposits in Karelia. All Karelian shungites have a great variety. However, in the scientific community it is customary to divide Karelian shungite into types, depending on the carbon content in shungite. Moreover, any shungite from Karelia will be Karelian. In addition, there are no more deposits of shungite on Earth with the same chemical composition as shungite from Karelia.

The most famous type of Karelian shungite.

elite shungite from karelia
Elite shungite from Karelia of 1 type with contenting 98% carbon

And the most famous type of shungite is shungite of the first type or elite and noble shungite. Fame for the brilliant Karelian mineral of the first type was brought by C60 fullerenes, which scientists discovered in it. Genuine elite shungite conducts electricity.

However, in Karelia, in addition to elite shungite of the first type, there is shungite of the second and third types and other shungites.
In the scientific community, elite noble shungite stone is usually called shungite of the first type. But already people began to call this mineral elite and noble in order to emphasize the rarity and exclusivity of this stone.

The brilliant variety of the mineral was named Shungite in 1884 after the geographical name of the village of Shunga. Scientists gave the name to the mineral some time after its discovery. Shortly after that, all shungite rocks in Karelia are called shungite. Thus, the name Karelian shungite implies the mineral shungite from Karelia.

As a result, if we divide Karelian shungite by carbon content, we will see the following picture. Elite shungite or elite noble shungite is a brilliant shungite of the first type with a content of free amorphous carbon up to 98%. And classic black shungite, or regular shungite of the third type, contains about 30% free amorphous carbon.

It is impossible to make any products from elite shungite because of its rarity and fragility. Therefore, it can be obtained in the form of small nuggets or in the form of pendants. But it is possible to make a variety of shungite souvenirs from black shungite of the third type.