Austen Ring Stays In UK

It may be a matter of pride or prejudice but the British government has stepped in to stop singer Kelly Clarkson from taking a ring once owned by famed author Jane Austen out of the country.

Photo: Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP
Academy Of Country Music Awards, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.

The “American Idol” winner paid £150,000 ($228,000) to buy the ring at auction last year, but on Aug. 1 UK culture minister Ed Vaizey put an export bar on the item until Sept. 30.

Vaizey, who hopes a British buyer will come forward, said Austen’s modest lifestyle and early death aged 41 “mean that objects associated with her of any kind are extremely rare.”

The government has the power to temporarily halt the export of works judged to be national treasures.

The export ban can be extended until Dec. 30 if there is a British campaign to buy the ring at a recommended price of £152,450.

Clarkson has agreed to sell the ring should a buyer come forward.

The author of “Pride and Prejudice,” “Emma,” and “Sense and Sensibility” left the ring to her sister Cassandra. It remained in the family until it was sold last year.

Clarkson told a British newspaper last year that, in addition to the ring, she’d bought a first edition of Austen’s novel “Persuasion” in the Sotheby’s sale.