All About Shungite

What Is Shungite?

Shungite is a Precambrian carbon-rich natural rock that has long-been recognised for its powerful healing and protective properties. It was first discovered in seams of very old rock near the village of Shunga in the Republic of Karelia in Russia and has been used as medical treatment and water purification in Russia since the early 18th century. 

Shungite is found almost exclusively in Russia's Republic of Karelia. The largest and primary shungite deposit in the world is found at Zazhoginsky mine where there are reportedly over 1 billion tons of shungite.

Shungite is approximately 2 billion years old but how it was formed is still something that scientists are trying to confirm. There are two popular theories as to its origins. The first theory is that there used to be an ancient body of water (an ocean, sea or lake) billions of years ago in the area in which there was a high concentration of early microscopic organisms. As the organisms died, their deposits formed at the sea floor. Subsequent shifting of the Earth's plates over millions of years moved the deposits from the seabed to land where it concentrated in one area. Another popular theory is that the shungite deposit is the result of a meteorite hitting the Earth billions of years ago.

Its carbon-rich composition and physical and chemical properties make it a truly unique rock. Shungite is believed to be one of the only substances in the world to contain hollow carbon molecules known as fullerenes and it is these fullerenes that scientists believe give shungite its healing and protective properties. 

What Are Fullerenes? 

Fullerenes are large, hollow, carbon-rich molecules and were first synthesised in a laboratory setting in 1985. The scientists who originated them were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996. At the time they were synthesised it was believed that fullerenes didn't exist in nature. However in 1992  as this New York Times article describes  they were discovered to exist naturally in shungite. 

Fullerenes have a high oxidative and reductive capacity and it is thought that this is where shungite derives it antioxidant properties. Research is ongoing into how fullerenes can be applied to both health and nanotechnology. 

Different Types of Shungite

Shungite is largely classified into three types depending on the amount of carbon it contains. 

Type I shungite is called noble or elite shungite and it contains the highest amount of carbon: 90 - 98%. It also contains the highest concentration of fullerenes. Elite shungite has a shiny surface giving the black stone a metallic lustre. Deposits of elite shungite are scarce and accounts for less than one percent of all shungite found. 

Type II shungite is known as Petrovsky shungite after the Russian Emperor, Peter the Great. Type II shungite is also quite rare and contains about 75% carbon. 

Type III shungite is called regular shungite and contains about 30 - 50% carbon. It is more easily obtained and is usually the shungite you will find in shaped and polished products like pyramids, spheres etc

What Do We Know About Shungite's Properties and Benefits?

Shungite has been used for its healing and protective properties for centuries in Russia. In the 18th century Peter the Great reportedly set up Russia's first spa in Karelia to harness the water-purifying and healing properties of shungite for his soldiers. It is also believed that he used shungite to provide purified water for his army after many had been poisoned processing a particular type of ore. Men who drank water from the spring that ran through the shungite deposit recovered much faster than normal. This is believed to be the origin of shungite water which is now widely recommended by naturopaths and healers for health issues such as: 

  • allergies
  • sore throats
  • asthma
  • arthritis
  • kidney problems
  • liver problems 
  • chronic fatigue
  • autoimmune conditions 

and many more

Recent studies have indicated that shungite can filter water by removing contaminants and organic substances like pesticides as well removing radioactive compounds from water. 

Fullerenes in shungite are also being recognised for their antimicrobial properties. While the research is still ongoing, this recent study in 2017 concluded that 'carbon-based nanostructures are promising antibacterial candidates for a wide range of medical applications due to their abilities to kill microorganisms, prevent bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation.' 

The antioxidant properties of fullerenes and its potential uses is also of great interest to the scientific community. A 2017 study demonstrated both the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory potential of shungite. Skin damage and oxidative stress in mice showed significant improvements when a shungite solution was applied and lower levels of inflammatory markers, including cytokines were discovered.

The study concludes that 'this study confirms the hypothesis that shungite, a natural fullerene, has antioxidant properties as it reduced the intracellular ROS production and enhanced the antioxidant enzyme activites in vivo ... Since the processability of pure fullerene is very challening and very expensive, this study suggests that natural mineral shungite, as a novel antoxidant, could provide a new therapeutic insight against oxidative - and inflammatory-related diseases' 

It is however the potential for shungite to help in protecting against the effects of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) which of course caught our eye. Again more research is certainly needed, but the anecdotal evidence and studies to date are compelling. According to Karelian Heritage, the Academy of Sciences in Karelia has spent many years researching shungite's abilities to protect against EMF. A Shungite Facts page on the Academy's website states the following: 

'Shungite can, indeed, clean water from hazardous impurities, absorb radioactive elements or screen off electromagnetic radiation. Yet, not all shungite species are alike'

The Academy also explains that: 'In 1996, the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg opened a 'shungite ward'. Doctors found that it has a reduced level of electromagnetic radiation, accelerates recovery from various diseases and helps cope with stress and physical exertion. Similar wards have since then appeared in several Russian cities. In Petrozavodsk, too, a shungite grotto was recently opened at the FR Engineering Centre'  

A 2003 study looked at the shielding properties of mineral shungite and stated that 'shielding with shungite decreased the severity of damage produced by high-frequency electromagnetic radiation' 

How Do You Use Shungite? 

Shungite comes in many sizes, shapes and forms and can be used in many different ways. From larger pieces including pyramids, cubes and spheres for the home; device-specific items such as phone stickers and stands; as well as smaller wearables pieces of shungite designed to be worn as jewellery or used as accessories. You can also buy small shungite stones to make shungite water and for adding to a shungite bath. 

Here at Earthing Oz, we were searching for something small, lightweight and convenient to wear as an addition to our EMF Protection range, we have therefore opted to stock the Elite Shungite Pendant and the Elite Shungite Keyring for its protective qualities all day, every day. 

How To Identify Authentic Shungite

Whichever shungite item you choose, it is very important to make sure you are purchasing high quality, authentic shungite. Many products that are marketed as shungite only contain a small percentage of shungite in the stone. There are a few easy ways to verify that your shungite is authentic as this video from Karelian Heritage explains. 

The first thing to check for is whether your shungite stone leaves black marks on your skin if you rub it between your fingers. Authentic shungite has a very high carbon content and as such can leave small deposits. This is only true of unpolished shungite. Polished shungite will not leave a black residue. The best way to check if your shungite is authentic is via a very simple experiment to prove its conductivity. Due to its chemical composition, shungite can conduct electricity: a quality rarely found in rocks and minerals. Using a simple set up of wires, a 4V battery and a small lightbulb, you can check the conductivity of your shungite. 

We source our Elite Shungite Pendants and Keyrings from Karelian Heritage in the Karelian region of Russia. This is a copy of the authentication certificate for the shungite and it is well worth taking time to read the many product reviews and testimonials on their website

How Do I Look After My Elite Shungite Pendant and Keyring?

It is recommended that you regularly clean the shungite stone by washing it under warm, running water and then leaving it to dry in direct sunlight for at least six hours to recharge.

Disclaimer: we are not doctors or medical professionals, and do not provide medical advice. We have gathered as much information as we can from a variety of sources to provide information about shungite. Readers are advised to do their own research. Nothing you read on our website should be relied upon to determine a medical diagnosis or any course of treatment.