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Kelly Clarkson banned from taking Jane Austen’s ring out of Britain

02 August 2013Written by ATG Reporter

The British government has placed a temporary export bar on a rare piece of jewellery that belonged to Jane Austen.

The ring that sold for £126,000 hammer at Sotheby's in July 2012 was one of only three items of jewellery known to have belonged to beloved novelist, and was bought by the US pop singer Kelly Clarkson.

Ms Clarkson has been told that she cannot take the item back to her native state of Texas until the September 30 at the earliest, the cut-off date which a British bidder would have to come forward with a serious intention to match the £152,450 price (including the auctioneers' premium).

Clarkson experienced a similar dilemma last year when she purchased a first edition of Jane Austen's Persuasion.

The ring itself, which was still in the original London jeweller's box, is a simple but elegant piece. A gem-set gold ring, the stone is likely to be odontolite; a stone that came into fashion in the early 19th century as a cheaper substitute for turquoise.

In wake of Jane Austen's death in 1817, her jewellery was initially given to her sister Cassandra who passed the piece on as a family momentum. It was placed for sale at Sotheby's by a descendant and was estimated at £20,000-30,000.

It also came with a note signed by Eleanor Austen, who married Jane's brother the Reverend Henry Thomas Austen. Addressed to her niece Caroline Austen, it stated: "My dear Caroline, The enclosed Ring once belonged to your Aunt Jane. It was given to me by your Aunt Cassandra as soon as she knew that I was engaged to your Uncle. I bequeath it to you. God bless you."

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