Graphite - pencil

DEFINITION

A soft black form of carbon, it is used in pencils which then are used for writing, drawing or marking. Like charcoal and having no relationship to lead, graphite is a higher form of coal and is closely related to diamonds. "It is metallic in appearance, and almost glassy, which accounts for its sheen when applied in concentration." Today graphite is easily obtainable, but it used to be a rare commodity. The Borrower's Mine in the Lake District in England became the chief early source of graphite. Dating from the 1600s, this graphite was first used only by local herdsmen to mark their sheep, but the demand became worldwide with the discovery that graphite could be put in a stylus and then make a consistent dark line. In the art market, graphite drawings tend not to bring high-dollar prices, but some artists such as Chuck Close are exceptions. Source: Bob Bahr, ???Graphite: The Drawer???s Humble Tool???. ???Drawing??? magazine, Summer 2007; AskART database

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