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DEAR ABBY: I couldn't believe your answer to "Disappointed," the 40-year-old woman who complained because her fiance gave her such a small diamond (one-fifth of a carat). She said she was a large woman with large hands, which made the ring look even smaller; she also complained because the 14-karat gold mounting caused her finger to break out in a rash.

You advised her to accompany her fiance to the store where he purchased the ring and trade it for a larger diamond, since her fiance made $200,000 a year and could well afford it.Abby, where does love and appreciation come in? - DISAPPOINTED IN YOU

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: Many other readers were also disappointed in me (an understatement). However, I stand by my answer. If her fiance couldn't afford a larger diamond, she would not have complained, which was the point of her letter. I'm all for love and appreciation, but where does honest communication come in?

Among the hundreds of critical letters in which I was called "mercenary, grasping, materialistic, devoid of sentiment and over-the-hill," I did receive a few letters that reaffirmed my confidence in my own judgment. For example:

DEAR ABBY: I totally agree with the advice you gave "Disappointed," the 40-year-old professional woman who was not happy with her engagement ring.

If "Disappointed" were to tell her fiance exactly how she felt, a number of things might be cleared up before they married. Perhaps her fiance would tell her that his personal income is none of her business (yet). Maybe he'd tell her that if she wants a ring "she'll be proud to wear" (translation: one she can shove under other people's noses in hopes of sparking envy), they can go to the jeweler together, pick out what she wants and split the cost.

Also, her fiance, may point out that a middle-aged, large woman with large hands should be thankful that she's getting married at all. And maybe he'll wake up and realize he's engaged to a spoiled brat instead of a mature woman. - KATHY IN FLORIDA

DEAR ABBY: Regarding the newly engaged woman who's disappointed with her engagement ring: Abby, the ring is the least of this woman's problems.

I question the future of a relationship in which (a) the groom-to-be has no idea of his fiancee's taste in jewelry, or choose to skimp on such a symbolic gift, and (b) the bride-to-be doesn't trust the relationship enough to discuss her allergic reaction to the ring, let alone her feelings about the gemstone.

Of course, the size of the diamond is irrelevant if it was given with true love. It's open communication that seems in short supply here. - G.S.

CONFIDENTIAL TO SECOND TIME AROUND IN PALM BEACH, FLA.: Brush the stardust out of your eyes, lady, and don't worry about "insulting" him. No matter how "honorable" a man you think he is, it's better to have a prenuptial agreement and not need one than it is to need one and not have it. This agreement should spell out who gets what in case the marriage doesn't work out, and who's entitled to how much should you precede him death, or vice versa.

CONFIDENTIAL TO ALL PARENTS: Parents who want to "train a child in the way he should go" should go that way themselves.