Some of the world's most incredible art was rendered in Graphite, a mineral composed solely of carbon. Graphite is a dark grey to black, soft, shiny metallic mineral with a distinctive greasy feeling. One of the Earth's softest minerals, Graphite, will quickly leave marks on paper, which is why it is used for fine artist pencils. Even modern pencil 'lead' is composed of Graphite mixed with clay. Paradoxically, even though Graphite is soft enough for drawing and as a lubricant, it is also sufficiently solid to refine furnaces and brake linings and create expensive lightweight sports equipment. Even more surprising, this versatile mineral was originally living organic material (usually plants) that was altered to form Graphite as sedimentary deposits were metamorphosed. Graphite's extreme softness, greasy feel, low specific gravity, and the ease with which it leaves dark grey to black marks on paper usually distinguish it from similar-looking metallic minerals. Its name comes from the Greek word 'graphein' ('to write'), a reflection of centuries of use in writing and drawing. Graphite is produced by metamorphosing organic material initially deposited as sediment or mixed with sediment. As organic material is metamorphosed, hydrogen and oxygen are driven off as water, leaving the carbon behind to form Graphite. Well-formed crystals of Graphite are rare in nature, and most Graphite occurs in its massive form. It is a metallic mineral, black to dark grey, with a distinctive greasy feeling. This slippery nature reflects its internal crystal structure, as with many mineral properties. On an atomic level, Graphite has a sheet-like design where carbon atoms lie in sheets that are only weakly bonded to the overlying and underlying carbon sheets. Strong chemical bonds, called covalent bonds, exist between the carbon atoms within each sheet, but the sheets are only held together by weaker surface attractions, called Van der Waals forces. Van der Waals forces are the same attractive forces that allow a gecko to climb smooth glass surfaces with padded toes. They are easily broken forces, making massive Graphite soft despite solid covalent bonds within its sheets. If you are looking for high quality, high purity and cost-effective Graphite, or if you require the latest price, please email contact mis-asia.