The physical properties of carbon varies depending on its allotropic form; diamond is a colorless, hard crystalline solid, graphite is soft, black and shiny, and graphene, fullerenes and nano-forms look like dark brown or black soot-like powders.
All the allotropes of carbon are solids under normal conditions. Carbon is the sixth most abundant naturally occurring element in the universe. It is mostly obtained from coal deposits, but it has to be further processed before it is considered suitable for commercial use.
Graphite mixed with clay is used in pencils. Diamond is used to make drill bits and jewelry. Coal, or impure carbon, is used in the metal smelting industry. Carbon fiber is extremely durable and is used to make fishing rods, skis and tennis rackets among others.