September 23, 2013
Kelly Clarkson Loses Jane Austen Ring To Museum

Kelly Clarkson lost her bid to buy a ring that belonged to Jane Austen.

Clarkson bought the turquoise and gold ring for $230,000 at a Sotheby's auction in London last year, paying more than five times the pre-sale estimated price. She is currently wearing a replica of the ring.

British Culture Minister Ed Vaizey placed an export ban on the ring until September 30 to give a UK-based buyer time to place a bid. Vaizey said that objects associated with Austen are extremely rare, and that he hoped a UK buyer would come forward "so this simple but elegant ring can be saved for the nation."

Former Jane Austen's House Museum curator Louise West said Clarkson should have been told about the export ban.

"This is nothing against her at all — it could be anyone — and it does happen all the time, but we know that it is shame for her," she said.

The ring was first passed to Austen's sister, Cassandra, who gave it to her sister-in-law Eleanor when she got engaged to the Reverend Henry Thomas Austen. The ring remained in the family until Clarkson bought it at auction last year.

The museum launched a "Bring the Ring Home" campaign to raise $230,000 to buy back the ring last month, and an anonymous donor contributed $155,000. More donations poured in from across the world, helping the museum reach its goal. The ring will go on display in the new year. Jane Austen's House also displays a turquoise bracelet and topaz cross that belonged to the Pride and Prejudice author.

Ed Vaizey said, "It's clear from the number of people who gave generously to the campaign just how admired Jane Austen remains to this day."

Clarkson said, "The ring is a beautiful national treasure and I am happy to know that so many Jane Austen fans will get to see it at Jane Austen's House Museum."

The museum said that it hopes Kelly Clarkson will visit in the future.

[Photo credit: karina3094/Flickr]