Pearls have been popular for centuries earning them the title of (one of) the oldest gems known to man. They became particularly fashionable throughout Europe in the 13th and 14th century then even more so in the 15th century and 16th centuries. At times various times there have been varying restrictions on the wearing of this jewel for instance in 16th century South America native Americans, free or slaves, were prohibited from wearing them as well as gold and silk (excepting those married to Spaniards). In 14th century Germany restrictions meant that no married woman or maiden could wear pearls on her dress. Later in the 15th century only one pearl was allowed which was limited to the weight of half an ounce. In 14th century Venice there were numerous restrictions on the wearing of pearls for married women and their use in dress at weddings. How much these laws could have or were actually enforced is unclear though the possibility of excommunication in Germany may have been a deterrent. In the latter part of the seventeenth century however the popularity of pearls waned and instead diamonds and other crystal gems came in to favour. However as shown above pearls have never really disappeared from fashion and continue to be popular today.