It looks like Kelly Clarkson won't get to keep possession of a Jane Austen gold and turquoise ring she bought at auction last year — a British museum has raised enough money to buy it back.
Clarkson, who rose to fame after winning the inaugural "American Idol" title more than a decade ago, was prevented from taking the ring out of the country when Britain’s culture minister imposed a temporary export ban to give Britons time to raise enough money to buy it back.
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Agence France-Presse said the ring is one of only three pieces
of jewelry that once belonged to the famed British novelist. Jane Austen’s House Museum in southern England will buy the bauble from Clarkson for $253,000 and is planning to display it sometime next year.
“The export licensing system provides us with a ‘last chance’ to save treasures like these for the nation so they can be enjoyed by all of us,” Culture Minister Ed Vaizey told The Guardian
. “It’s clear from the number of people who gave generously to the campaign just how admired Jane Austen remains to this day.”
Clarkson agreed to the deal, telling The Guardian, “The ring is a beautiful national treasure and I’m happy to know that so many Jane Austen fans will get to see it.”
The fundraising appeal began in August and an unnamed benefactor donated $100,000 pounds — about $160,000 — to the cause.
“We have been stunned by the generosity and light-footedness of all those who have supported our campaign to meet the cost of acquiring Jane Austen’s ring for our permanent collection,” Mary Guyatt, the Jane Austen museum curator, told The Guardian. “Visitors come from all around the world to see the house where she once lived, and we will now take great pleasure in displaying this pretty ring for their appreciation.”
The BBC notes the museum already displays a turquoise bracelet and a topaz cross
that were owned by Austen. The ring that Clarkson bought comes with documentation that it, too, belonged to the famous author.
Austen, whose works include "Sense and Sensibility" and "Pride and Prejudice," is one of the most widely read authors in English literature.
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