Campaigners bid to keep a piece of Jane Austen's jewellery in the UK after American singer Kelly Clarkson buys it for £150,000
Jane Austen’s once prized gold and turquoise ring is being kept under an export ban to stop current owner Kelly Clarkson from taking it back to the US with her.
The ring – believed to be one of only three pieces of Jane Austen‘s jewellery remaining – was bought by American Idol winner Kelly for £150,000 but culture minister Ed Vaizey wants it to stay in the UK.
He said: ‘Jane Austen‘s modest lifestyle and her early death mean that objects associated with her of any kind are extremely rare.’
Kelly rightfully bought the ring when it was sold at auction last year, though Vaizey hopes he can raise enough money to ensure that this piece of British history is bought back and kept in the writer’s native country.
The large oval gemstone ring was originally left to Jane Austen‘s sister and had been passed down in the family since 1863.
An Austen fan and self-confessed ‘history nerd’, Kelly paid five times the estimated value of the ring against eight bidders, much to the surprise of London auctioneers in July 2012.
The bid was made from an anonymous phone call, which explains why auctioneers were unaware that the buyer would be taking the ring outside of the country.
A UK buyer has until September to come forward and buy what is deemed to be a national treasure.
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