General News

Culture Minister fights to keep Clarkson's Austen ring in Britain

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Aug 01, 2013 | 1:41pm EDT

British Culture Minister Ed Vaizey is appealing for British literature buffs to step forward and buy a ring once owned by writer Jane Austen, so singer Kelly Clarkson doesn't take the jewellery item out of the country. The Since U Been Gone hitmaker bought Austen's rare turquoise and gold ring for over $225,000 (£150,000), but Vaizey has put a temporary export ban on the gem because he wants to try and keep it in Britain. Calling it "a national treasure", the minister has asked for someone to match the $228,700 (£152,450) price tag before the 30 September (13) deadline. Vaizey says, "Jane Austen's modest lifestyle and her early death mean that objects associated with her of any kind are extremely rare, so I hope that a UK buyer comes forward so this simple but elegant ring can be saved for the nation." The ring, thought to be one of only three Austen jewellery items in existence, has been in the writer's family since her death in 1817. Clarkson will be able to collect the gem and take it home to America if no one steps forward to match her auction bid.

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