Shungite is an amorphous variety of graphite of intense black color, which outwardly resembles anthracite. Shungite is unique in its composition, structure and properties. It is a natural composite with a homogeneous distribution of crystalline silicate particles in a carbon matrix. The peculiar structure of shungite, characterized by highly dispersed silicate grains in the carbon matrix, determines its numerous practical applications. Shungite has high electric conductivity and considerable mechanical strength.
Origin and History Shungite was named for the village Shunga near which a massive deposit of organic rich carbon was discovered in the Karelia region of Russia.
Source It is found only in the Zazhoginskoye deposit near Lake Onega in the Shunga region of Karelia, Russia. As a pigment it exhibits excellent hiding power, and in mixtures with other pigments imparts a deep black tone with a cool tint. In the former Soviet Union, an artist's colors manufacturer made high quality paint under the name of "Shungite Natural Black."
Permanence and Compatibility Since shungite is carbon it is considered to be among the most permanent pigments in the artist's palette. It can be safely used in all techniques and combines well with all pigments. It is used effectively in all aqueous mediums, such as egg tempera, watercolor and casein.
Oil Absorption and Grinding Shungite like its cousins, carbon blacks, absorbs a moderate amount of oil during dispersion, speeds up the drying of oil films, and forms a good flexible film. The oil absorption ratio is 100 parts by weight of pigment to 60 parts by weight of linseed oil. If the measurement were grams, umber would require 60 grams (by weight) of linseed oil to grind 100 grams (by weight) of pigment to form a stiff paste.
Toxicity Shungite is not considered to be toxic but care should be used in handling the dry powder pigment so as not to inhale the dust.
Pigment: Shungite (Karelia, Russia)
C60 and C70
ASTM Lightfastness Rating
Natural Pigments is a limited liability company based in Willits, California. We manufacture and distribute rare and hard-to-find materials for fine artists and decorators. We specialize in supplying artists' materials that were used in historical painting since pre-historic times up to and including the nineteenth century.
We constantly search for materials and products of the finest quality so that we can bring them direct to you from the source. To do so, we travel the world to find materials specifically for use by professional artists and decorators. We obtain minerals from mines in Afghanistan, Chile, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, to name a few places, processing these into natural pigments. We purchase resins, gums and plants from India, Kenya and Malaysia to make natural varnishes and painting mediums.
Our mission is to provide the largest variety of natural pigments, paints and other professional artists' supplies, enabling us to bring you a selection that makes shopping for rare and hard-to-find art materials easy. Our objective is to promote the education and use of these materials among artists by providing detailed information for their employment in encaustic, fresco, oil, watercolor and tempera painting.
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