Citrine is a variety of quartz whose color ranges from pale yellow to brown due to a submicroscopic distribution of colloidal ferric hydroxide impurities. Natural citrines are rare; most commercial citrines are heat-treated amethysts or smoky quartz. However, a heat-treated amethyst will have small lines in the crystal, as opposed to a natural citrine's cloudy or smoky appearance. It is nearly impossible to differentiate between cut citrine and yellow topaz visually, but they differ in hardness.
Citrine was first appreciated as a golden-yellow gemstone in Greece between 300 and 150 BC, during the Hellenistic Age.
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