To size up this trend, I went shopping with a measuring tape in search of the biggest shoulder-grazers out there.
In pursuit of the longest earrings I could find, my first stop was a Francesca's Collections accessories store because my friend Jen said her 17-year-old sister Teddi raved about the size of the earrings she and her friends buy there.
When I plucked (!) some blue feathered ones off the rack I was ready to declare the winner right there. I thought it would be hard to top these danglers that measured 7-7/8 inches long.
How shortsighted I was.
Next stop, Aldo Accessories where I found a trio of teenage cousins lovingly staring at the earrings wall.
"They're beautiful," said 18-year-old Allie Capezzeto as her fingers ran along the tassels of beaded orange earrings that measured a substantial (but not a contender) 7-1/8 inches long.
As she was ringing up the orange dazzlers for me to take home, Aldo manager Shaina Clarey called my attention to some peacock feathers dangling from gold chains. "Feathered earrings are insane!" she said. These had just come in: 9-1/2 inches long. Awesome.
Since it was nearby, I popped into Wet Seal where the longest earrings I could find were a piddly 7 inches. I was about to leave when a sales clerk recalled some with silver leaves and chains that were sold out. She called and found them at another Wet Seal store, and I raced over with my tape measure to check them out: 8-3/8 inches. Not bad. But not historic.
On a whim, I stopped at Urban Outfitters. As at every earring purveyor I visited, feathers were hugely popular there, and I was absolutely sure that I'd found the mother of all big earrings with the silver/beads/feathers/leather single $38 earring that measured over a foot long — actually 14-3/8 inches.
This giant jewelry was so very beyond shoulder-grazing. It cascaded to midchest! That, my friends, is a whomping big earring.
But wait. There's more. Along the way, as I interviewed more and more passionate big-earring wearers, I was pointed to a shop I hadn't even considered, bebe. I was skeptical because bebe carries some jewelry, but it's mostly a clothing store.
However, my tipster remembered seeing some memorable long earrings there, so I figured my mission wouldn't be complete unless I checked it out.
Good thing too. At bebe I found silvery chains a mind-blowing 16 inches long. The winner not by a mile but by a still-impressive 1-5/8 inches.
Bebe manager Tammie Dishmon says they're so popular she can't keep them in stock. And she's not ruling out even more dramatic lengths for sale this fall.
"They keep getting longer," she says.