Graphite is a metamorphic rock that comes from soft coal. It is very soft, between 1 and 2 on the hardness scale, and can be scratched with your fingernail. Graphite has a metallic luster and has a dark gray or black streak. The "lead" in all of our pencils is actually graphite. In fact, the word "graphite" comes from the Greek word that means "to write". Graphite has a very slippery feel and is used as a lubricant. It also is a very good conductor of electricity and is used in many industries.