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by Abigail Van Buren

New, Simpler Lifestyle Sparks Anger Among Family, Friends

DEAR ABBY: This is in reply to "Hung Up on the Ring in Reno" (Nov. 11), whose girlfriend insists on a very expensive ring as part of the marriage proposal. He believes she equates her value and social status with the size of the stone.

I was married in the early 1970s. When my fiance and I went to a jeweler to select my ring, I sorted through several trays of gold rings, searching for just the right one. Finally, in the last tray, I found exactly what I wanted -- a little gold band trimmed with an etched design around the edges. I held my breath as the jeweler quoted the price -- $13!

That sweet little gold band has been on the third finger of my left hand for 45 years. It has nothing to do with my value and social status, but rather, represents 4 1/2 decades of love, mutual respect and sharing. I wouldn't trade it for the Hope Diamond, and I intend to wear it until my final day on Earth.

Incidentally, my husband saw the jeweler later at a social gathering shortly before our wedding, and the man complimented him on the "nice, sensible" young lady he was going to marry. -- NANCY IN UPSTATE NEW YORK

DEAR NANCY: It appears your husband and the jeweler had something important in common -- an eye for quality.