The mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

 graphite ˈɡræfaɪt is one of the allotropes of carbon
Allotropes of carbon
This is a list of the allotropes of carbon.-Diamond:Diamond is one of the most well known allotropes of carbon. The hardness and high dispersion of light of diamond make it useful for both industrial applications and jewellery. Diamond is the hardest known natural mineral. This makes it an...

. It was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner
Abraham Gottlob Werner
Abraham Gottlob Werner , was a German geologist who set out an early theory about the stratification of the Earth's crust and coined the word Neptunism...

 in 1789 from the Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 γράφω (graphō), "to draw/write", for its use in pencil
A pencil is a writing implement or art medium usually constructed of a narrow, solid pigment core inside a protective casing. The case prevents the core from breaking, and also from marking the user’s hand during use....

s, where it is commonly called lead (not to be confused with the metallic element lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

). Unlike diamond
In mineralogy, diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions...

 (another carbon allotrope), graphite is an electrical conductor
Electrical conductor
In physics and electrical engineering, a conductor is a material which contains movable electric charges. In metallic conductors such as copper or aluminum, the movable charged particles are electrons...

, a semimetal. It is, consequently, useful in such applications as arc lamp
Arc lamp
"Arc lamp" or "arc light" is the general term for a class of lamps that produce light by an electric arc . The lamp consists of two electrodes, first made from carbon but typically made today of tungsten, which are separated by a gas...