By Claire Roberts
There's one part of the body that is currently getting more attention than any other in the world of fine jewellery: the ear. It started several years ago with the arrival of ear cuffs but has blossomed into an array of embellishments for the ear that are giving the traditional earring a new lease of life.
Bold ear cuffs that send a shooting spray of gemstones all the way up the ear are still big news, but as the least understated of the bunch, they're not for everyone. Which is where ear climbers come in. Earrings that often fasten with a wire at the rear of the lobe to comfortably hold them in place, climbers are the fashionable way to wear the new wave of earrings without looking like you tried too hard.
So popular is this new style of earring that it is not just the cool, independent designers who are getting in on the act. British jewellery house Garrard - the world's oldest jeweller - is best known for its exquisite high jewellery, but at Baselworld it launched a pair of diamond-set ear climbers fashioned in the shape of a bow that are the most opulent I have seen.
Lydia Courteille, meanwhile, has incorporated two ear trends into her new rubellite earrings from The Scarlet Empress collection. An homage to the flamboyant Russian Empress Catherine II that focusses on just a single colour, red, the earrings are half ear climber, half drop earring, ticking the mismatched earring trend also.
I'm still trying to come up with a nicer description for front/back earrings. They sit both in front and behind the ear and are so much prettier than the name suggests, making a decorative feature out of what would normally be the earring post. I spotted lots of them at the Couture Show in Las Vegas last year, together with ear jackets, which are designed to peek out from just below the lobe.
YOKO London's front-back pearl earrings feature a diamond-set rose gold stud and a dove grey Tahitian pearl that sits behind the ear, just visible when viewed from the front. Looking at the wearer side-on, however, you can see both the stud and the pearl and you can wear them back to front also, making them two pairs of earrings in one.
If you're looking for something colourful, Carla Amorim's O Meu Caminho ear jackets are among my favourites - the emeralds and pink tourmalines remind me of a lush tropical garden. For pure luxury, though, Nikos Koulis recently added baguette diamonds to his popular Spectrum ear jackets, which show off the classic pairing of diamonds and pearls to perfection.
I met Greek jewellery designer Yannis Sergakis for the first time at Baselworld and fell in love with his dreamy creations. But what do you call his delicate chain earrings, which fasten with a stud and hook over the front of the ear, with a line of tiny diamonds leading down to a gold chain - ear drapes? Similarly, Yeprem's variations on an ear cuff, which span the width of the ear or curve fluidly around the front of the ear, skimming the face. Back-to-front ear cuffs? These styles are so new they are yet to be named so I'm going to stick with what I know: some of the most wonderfully original earrings of 2015.