Jane Austen Ring Owned by Kelly Clarkson, But British Museum Wants It

Image: Jane Austen Ring Owned by Kelly Clarkson, But British Museum Wants It

Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 01:38 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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A ring that once belonged to novelist Jane Austen has a British museum preparing to challenge pop star Kelly Clarkson to get it back. The singer bought the ring at an auction last year.

Though Clarkson anonymously outbid the Jane Austen's House Museum at the Sotheby's auction, she was prevented earlier this month from bringing the rare turquoise and gold ring back to the U.S. after the British government placed a temporary export ban on it, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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"Jane Austen's modest lifestyle and her early death mean that objects associated with her of any kind are extremely rare, so I hope that a U.K. buyer comes forward so this simple but elegant ring can be saved for the nation," Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said in a statement when the ban was issued.

Now with the help of an anonymous donor, the museum has raised $159,000, a good chunk of the almost $236,000 needed to buy back the ring from Clarkson.

"The ring should stay in this country because there is so little of Austen's personal effects left," museum fundraiser Louise West told reporters.

Clarkson is reportedly a huge Jane Austen fan, and also owns a first edition of the 19th century author's book "Persuasion."

The turquoise and gold ring was left to Austen's sister when the writer died in 1817 and it stayed in the family up until last year when it was sold at auction.

West did say, however, that Clarkson brings some positive publicity to Austen and her work.

"It is very good for Jane Austen PR that a young, famous American pop star expresses a love for her," she said, according to the LA Times.

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