Kelly Clarkson can’t walk away with Jane Austen’s ring

Kelly Clarkson purchased a ring owned by Jane Austen for more than $243,000 at auction last year, but the Jane Austen House Museum was given more time to put together a final bid, which has been accepted.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a pop star in possession of strong pipes must be in want of historical literary bling.

But Kelly Clarkson, one-time “American Idol” winner and apparent Jane Austen fan, won’t be wearing Austen’s gold and turquoise ring after all. Clarkson purchased the ring for more than $243,000 at auction last year, outbidding the Jane Austen House Museum.

The purchase of the historical artifact was permitted with a caveat. Ed Vaizey, Britain’s culture minister, placed the ring under a provisional export bar until Sept. 30 to give the museum time to match Clarkson’s bid.


The museum launched a Save the Ring campaign to drum up the funds and, thanks to an anonymous donation of more than $159,000 in August, will be able to purchase the ring. Its new bid has been accepted.

Mary Guyatt, curator of the museum that was once Austen’s Hampshire home, told the BBC that she has been “stunned by the generosity and light-footedness” of the campaign’s supporters.

On hearing the news, Clarkson stated that 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.”


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