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
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."