Graphene sheets offer extraordinary electronic, thermal and mechanical properties and are expected to find a variety of applications. A prerequisite for exploiting most proposed applications for graphene is the availability of processable graphene sheets in large quantities. The direct dispersion of hydrophobic graphite or graphene sheets in water without the assistance of dispersing agents has generally been considered to be an insurmountable challenge. Here we report that chemically converted graphene sheets obtained from graphite can readily form stable aqueous colloids through electrostatic stabilization. This discovery has enabled us to develop a facile approach to large-scale production of aqueous graphene dispersions without the need for polymeric or surfactant stabilizers. Our findings make it possible to process graphene materials using low-cost solution processing techniques, opening up enormous opportunities to use this unique carbon nanostructure for many technological applications.