Our etiquette expert explains how to deal with this tricky situation.

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Q. My husband and I are newlyweds, and when he was selecting an engagement ring for me, he sought the advice of my sister, who lives in another state. She, in turn, directed him to a jeweler whose work I admired. Ultimately I received a lovely custom-made ring that I adore.
However, I recently visited my sister and noticed that she was wearing a ring nearly identical to mine but with a larger diamond. I inquired about it, and she told me that she had had her own engagement ring melted down and made into a replica of my ring by the same jeweler. I couldn’t muster any comment at that moment aside from “Wow,” but I am still stunned and offended. Any advice on how to address this situation?

G. J.

A. Focus on the main event: your marriage. Your husband had the good sense to pursue a ring that would be special to you, and he succeeded. What a peach!

You were under the impression that the ring was one-of-a-kind, except that your sister liked it so much that now she has a similar one. Would it have been nice if she had alerted you to her ring-copying plans? Sure. But as a symbol of your husband’s devotion your ring remains beautiful—and all yours.

Instead of being appalled, you could choose to be flattered and move on, especially since frequent comparisons are unlikely, given the geographic distance between you. (Or unless, as my 14-year-old jokingly suggests, you would rather melt down your ring to make a replica of your sister’s old one.)

But if you feel you need to air this issue with your sister, be direct. Say, “I love that you helped my husband to pick such a talented jeweler, but I am uncomfortable that you ended up getting the same ring for yourself.” Ideally she will apologize for making you ill at ease, but even if she doesn’t, chances are, you’ll smart less once you’re conversing honestly.

Catherine Newman

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