Former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson bought a gorgeous ring worn by famed author Jane Austen at a Sotheby’s auction last year. In an odd twist, however, she never got to wear the historical ring and now, never will. Apparently the British government was not pleased when they found out that the piece of jewelry had been sold to an American singer and would be leaving Jane Austen’s homeland. So they barred the ring from being exported while they worked to find a way to keep it in the country.
Kelly Clarkson, a big fan of the writer, bought the gold and turquoise Jane Austin ring last year for £150,000 after it landed in the Sotheby’s auction after being held on to by the family for 200 years. Jane Austen died in 1817 from an undiagnosed illness. The ring is one of only three pieces of jewelry known to have belonged to the author that has survived to present day. Clarkson outbid the Jane Austen’s House Museum in Hampshire, England for the ring.
The British government decided to impound the ring under a temporary export ban. They ruled that if the museum could come up with the equivalent amount paid by Kelly Clarkson for the ring, they could take it instead. After a fundraising campaign and a large donation of £100,000 by an anonymous donor, the museum announced it had raised enough funds to purchase the ring from the American Idol winner for $253,300.
Jane Austen’s House Museum Curator Mary Guyatt said of their accomplishment, “The museum has been stunned by the generosity and light-footedness of all those who have supported our campaign. 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.”
Kelly Clarkson, meanwhile, took all of it with good graces. She was more than happy to give up the jewelry and let it be put on display for the writer’s legion of admirers. “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.”