Amethyst is the violet variety of quartz. In the 19th century, the colour of amethyst was attributed to the presence of manganese. However, since it is capable of being greatly altered and even discharged by heat, the colour was believed by some authorities to be from an organic source. Ferric thiocyanate was suggested, and sulfur was said to have been detected in the mineral.
On exposure to heat, amethyst generally becomes yellow, and much of the citrine, cairngorm, or yellow quartz of jewelry is said to be merely "burnt amethyst". Veins of amethystine quartz are apt to lose their colour on the exposed outcrop.