Do you know the difference between an ear cuff and an ear crawler? Gigi Hadid does. And so does Sara Sampaio, Alicia Vikander and Emma Watson.

One is ideal for boho-luxe holidays and outdoor music festivals. The other is the most on-trend form of statement jewellery of this season and an increasingly popular go-to for fashion-forward stars who like to serve their bold bling with a dash of attitude.

Contrary to cuffs which are small hoops that clip onto your ear anywhere other than the lobe, ear crawlers (yes, prickly name, but deliciously pretty effect) describe anything that starts at the lobe and climbs upward, sometimes finishing high above the ear. Some, like Bella Hadid’s ear candy on the Oscar de la Renta Autumn/Winter 2017 runway (below), even give as good as they get below the lobe too.

Bella Hadid for Oscar De La Renta AW17

Similarly, some are delicate and designed to be mirrored in each ear, while others constitute one giant ‘look at me’ piece that commands to be worn alone, but what they both have in common is their must-have fashion status for 2017. Here’s how.

6 reasons to invest in ear crawlers

1. They put the ‘S'(EXY) back into statement If it’s a talking point you’re after, then this anti-earring earring is the most on-trend answer now. When styled the right way, they can easily stand alone as the only jewellery you wear, a la Dakota below.

Dakota Johnson
Credit: Getty Images

2. You’re in hot A-list company Amber Valletta stepped out at last year’s Met Gala sporting fierce ear crawlers. Emma Watson regularly wears them for red carpet events, as does Gigi Hadid, who rocked a fine diamond version for the American Music Awards. Add Sara Sampaio, Emma Stone, Zendaya, Rihanna, Jessica Alba, Charlize Theron, Nicole Richie, Alicia Vikander, Shanina Shaik to the ‘friends of the trend’ list and you get the gist.

Amber Valletta at the Met Gala 2016
Credit: Getty Images

4. THEY’RE KINDER TO DELICATE LOBES As anyone who’s worn a jewel-encrusted drop earring will attest, heavy statement ear bling comes at a heavy comfort price. The right crawler snakes up and sits neatly on your ear, which means your 6-inch-shod feet will be the only things aching come sunrise.

Ear Creeper by Swarovski
Credit: Erika Yin

3. They’re ideal for high-neck outfits Nothing says ‘I love jewels’ more than a giant statement necklace with matching wrist cuffs. But for those outfits that don’t allow them, an ear crawler saves you from frightening bling nakedness.

Gigi Hadid
Credit: Getty Images

5. It’s a bonafide runway trend Investment jewellery tends to be timeless (and rightly so) but every now and again it’s fun to step away from sensible and go totally seasonal instead. Luxury designers sent crawl-clad models down their runways at Mulberry AW17, Oscar De La Renta AW17, Elie Saab AW17, Marchesa SS17, Rodarte SS17 and most notably Saint Laurent and Dolce Gabbana who were early adopters way back at the AW16 shows.

Mulberry AW17

6. They’re the ultimate rock princess piece Team with jeans, a white tee and vertiginous-heeled sandals for extra dramatic effect. Think street style social media star meets bad girl heiress with attitude.

Saint Laurent AW16

Produced in association with Swarovski
Main image: Ear crawler by Swarovski (Erika Yin)