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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: "Too Many Rings in Arizona" wrote you that her fiance had given her his grandmother's ring as an engagement ring, but that she preferred to wear her deceased mother's rings, which her father had been keeping for her marriage. She asked whether it would be wrong for her to ask her fiance to allow her to wear her mother's rings rather than his grandmother's.

You said to go ahead and ask him, and to offer to wear the grandmother's ring on her right hand -– or, if that bothered him, to have her mother's rings made smaller and wear them as a pinky ring on her left hand.

I disagree! When you marry, you promise to forsake all others, keeping thyself only unto him as long as you both shall live. With that in mind, which ring is more significant to the union, his choice or her father's?

If "Too Many Rings" values her father's pledge to her mother more than her fiance's commitment to her as his chosen member of his family, then she can wear her mother's rings rather than his heirloom. -- TWICE A WIFE, TWICE WIDOWED IN EDISON, GA.

DEAR TWICE: More than a few -– but not all -– of those who responded to that letter agreed with you. To me, the most important thing was that the young woman and her fiance be able to communicate frankly with each other -– and possibly reach a compromise –- about something that is obviously important to both of them. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Here's another idea for "Too Many Rings in Arizona." Before my wife and I became engaged last year, she expressed her desire for a ring with a three-diamond setting. She also inherited both of her grandmothers' engagement rings. My college roommate is a jeweler and was able to use the two diamonds and add a third in making my wife's dream ring. The ring has additional sentimental value because two of the diamonds had belonged to her grandmothers, and it was made by my college roommate. -- NEWLYWED IN LEXINGTON, S.C.

DEAR ABBY: A bride-to-be does NOT wear rings inherited from her parents on the hand she "gives" to her husband. She wears HIS rings -– the rings HE gives her -– as a traditional and deeply meaningful symbol of their union. She may certainly wear any other jewelry her taste allows, including inherited rings, on her right hand (although one would hope not at the wedding).

With the engagement and marriage, she ceases to be Mommy and Daddy's little girl, and that's an important part of the ring symbolism. She wouldn't want to send her betrothed, her parents and the rest of the world the wrong message, now, would she? -- JOHN IN POWDER SPRINGS, GA.

DEAR ABBY: A possible solution might be to take all of the rings in question, melt them down, and have a jewelry designer design something to the couple's specifications. That way material from all of the rings would be incorporated into their rings, and there would be added sentimental value.

More than 30 years ago I had wedding bands designed for my wife and me, and I still haven't seen anything else like them. -- JAY IN CANDIA, N.H.

DEAR JAY: Your idea warms my heart. There's something appealing about having all that family history combined into something they could both wear to symbolize their love for each other and their future together.

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