These pieces are raw shungite.
Shungite is a rare black stone made of up to 99 percent carbon. It’s mainly found in Shunga, a village in Karelia, Russia.
The stone has a unique composition. It contains fullerenes, or 3-D spherical molecules made of 60 carbon atoms. These molecules are hollow and sometimes called buckyballs.
Along with fullerenes, shungite consists of nearly all the minerals on the periodic table.
The origin of shungite is a mystery. Typically, materials made of carbon come from decayed organic substances like old forests. But the stone is thought to be at least 2 billion years old. This is before organic life existed on the planet.
Some theories of shungite’s origins include:
- a large meteorite collided into Earth and deposited shungite into the ground
- shungite formed due to microorganisms in nearby water
- the composition of organic matter in sedimentary rocks changed over time
Although scientists are unsure of how shungite was formed or where it came from, they attribute the stone’s potential benefits to its fullerene content.