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Vendor Spotlight: Orr’s Jewelers

I’m like a bird. No, not like Nelly Furtado. When I see something shiny, I have to stop to investigate. I have to stop and investigate even more closely when that shiny stuff just so happens to be jewelry. One of the preferred vendors of the Mansion at Maple Heights is Orr’s Jewelers, so when I had the opportunity to visit and check out some of their goods, I quickly took it. They actually have two locations- Squirrel Hill and Sewickley. We visited the Squirrel Hill location and had a chance to chat with Karen Nicola for a few minutes.

***Unengaged ladies… This is the post you want to forward to your boyfriends!!! Just sayin’. And from this point on, I am going to talk directly to the men since this is really aimed at them.

Now there are a few things you should know about when going to purchase an engagement ring. Karen says that you “should get an idea of what kind of style she likes as far as jewelry goes. What kind of metal she prefers, whether white or yellow, and the cut of the stone (round brilliant, cushion, princess) are very important.” At Orr’s, they will sit down with you and educate you on the 4 Cs – cut, color, clarity and carat weight. They will also explain the GIA reports and explain the important types of diamonds and what to look for when buying. This is can be quite a large investment, so you want to be educated and get the best quality for your money.

A popular misconception about purchasing an engagement ring is how much should be spent. The rule of “spending 3 months salary is more of an old tale nowadays,” says Karen. She thinks “you should really focus on what they would like and the style.”

It is also important to note that size isn’t everything. “I think it is definitely the quality of the diamond [that is most important]. Something that has a nice cut and is going to shine on your finger. The cut of the diamond is the most important factor. It is how the diamond reflects the light. Sometimes people come in and want the bigger diamond. The 2 carat might have a lot of inclusions or the cut is poor as opposed to a 1 carat that has little or no inclusions and a good cut,” says Karen. So she’s saying to go with quality over quantity.

So what are the most popular trends right now, you ask? At Orr’s, three things seem to stand out. The first is the type of metal used to make the ring. They find that platinum is the most popular with palladium coming in a close second. “The palladium market has been popular because of the price. It is more economical. It is still in the platinum family and is a pure white metal and very durable. It has been around for a long time but because of the market, but it has become much more popular because it is so economical.”

Second, is the cut of the diamond. The most popular is the round brilliant, which “is the most traditional cut for the bride and gives you the most sparkle because it has 58 facets.”

Lastly, the style of ring that has been most popular is the diamond halo with the smaller diamonds surrounding the center diamond to highlight it.


With all of the knowledge that Karen has, she said she “would go with a round brilliant and style would be very traditional. My original was a solitaire mounting. Very traditional with a nice cut.”

Now what about the guys? I didn’t want to leave you out, so I was sure to ask about your wedding bands too :) “Platinum would be the most popular, but palladium is also very popular. It is good to wear everyday.”

Now, what happens if I didn’t write this post in time and you are already engaged? “We have so many styles of wedding bands whether it is a traditional channel set or a plain polished wedding band, so we can certainly help them because we carry such a vast assortment so we can certainly help them in that category.” So there you go. You can still have the pleasure of working with Karen at Orr’s.

And the most important question… where can you find Karen? You can visit the Squirrel Hill location at 5857 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217 to see Karen in person. I highly recommend it because she really knows her stuff. They also have a location in Sewickley (532 Beaver Street, Sewickley, PA 15143). Even though I have not met anyone there, I have no doubt they know their stuff too. Service is something they pride themselves on at Orr’s. You can see it as soon as you walk in. You can also give them a call at 412.421.6777 and you should most definitely check out their website:


As always, feel free to email me at or give me a call (412.427.2877) if you have any questions about this post or just in general!



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