Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Jane Austen's Ring

It's a truth universally acknowledged that a single lady in possession of a good fortune must be in want of jewellery - and lots of it! So when American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson got engaged she could think of nothing more romantic than sealing the deal with a ring that once belonged to her heroine, Jane Austen - or so the story goes. But there's to be no happily ever after...

The singer paid £152,450 for the gold and turquoise ring when it was put up for auction by the Austen family last year - that's over 5 times Sotherby's original estimate - but Kelly has never actually managed to get the ring on her finger. No it's not too small, it's actually considered far too important to leave English soil so it's a replica she's been spotted sporting on her ring finger.

As one of only 3 pieces of jewellery known to have belonged to one of the nation's favourite authors the government were quick to issue an export veto after the sale to keep this little piece of our heritage in the country in the hope that a suitable UK buyer could be found.

Before you rush off to count the pennies in your purse, it's been announced that the folks from Jane Austen's House Museum have now raised the total required to buy the ring and put it on display in Austen's former home - largely thanks to an anonymous donation of £100,000.

Sorry Kelly, but this little gem belongs in Chawton, where it is set to go on permanent display alongside the topaz cross and ivory bracelet also once worn by Austen. At least she's taken the news in good heart, releasing the statement: '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.' I, for one, can't wait to visit.

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