Kelly Clarkson thwarted in bid to keep Jane Austen ring

Ring owned by Jane Austen The ring is one of only three items of jewellery known to have belonged to Jane Austen

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US singer Kelly Clarkson has been thwarted in her bid to take a ring which once belonged to Jane Austen out of the UK.

She bought the turquoise and gold ring for £152,450 at auction last year, outbidding the Jane Austen's House Museum.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey put an export bar on it until 30 September.

After worldwide donations the museum has since raised enough money to buy the ring and its bid has been accepted.

Contributions to the Bring the Ring Home campaign, set up by the museum in Jane Austen's former home, included an anonymous donation of £100,000 in August.

The museum, in Chawton, Hampshire, was given until December to raise a further £49,000.

Mary Guyatt, curator of the museum, said it had been "stunned by the generosity and light-footedness" of those who had supported the bid.

Mr Vaizey added: "It's clear from the number of people who gave generously to the campaign just how admired Jane Austen remains to this day."

Kelly Clarkson has been seen wearing what is believed to be a replica of the ring in the US, including at President Obama's inauguration.

'National treasure'

The museum already displays two other pieces of jewellery owned by the writer - a turquoise bracelet and a topaz cross.

The ring is accompanied by papers documenting its history within the author's family.

It passed first to her sister Cassandra, who then gave it to her sister-in-law Eleanor Austen on her engagement to Jane and Cassandra's brother, the Reverend Henry Thomas Austen.

It remained in the family until Clarkson bought it at auction.

The ring will now go on display at the museum in the New Year.

On hearing the museum had been successful in raising funds to purchase the ring, Ms Clarkson said: "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."

The museum said it hoped to welcome Ms Clarkson there in the future.

Austen, who lived most of her life in Hampshire, is one of English literature's most celebrated authors.

Fans are celebrating the 200th anniversary of her novel Pride and Prejudice this year.

Although out of copyright and available free on e-readers, it is estimated that Pride and Prejudice sells up to 50,000 copies each year in the UK.

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