Singer Kelly Clarkson, the first "American Idol" winner, bought a ring at auction that belonged to author Jane Austen, but the British government won't let her take the ring out of the country.
The gold and turquoise ring cost the "Tie It Up" singer approximately $228,000 at auction last year. The ring had remained in the Austen family ever since Jane left it to her sister Cassandra in her will.
On Thursday, the British government temporarily halted the export of the ring, judged to be a national treasure. The export bar on the item will remain until Sept. 30, and it could be sold to the right British buyer if they expressed interest.
The value of the ring is more than just money, according to British Culture Minister Ed Vaisey. Because the writer of such classics as "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility" died at the early age of 41 and lived in a modest fashion, objects associated with her are rare. "I hope that a U.K. buyer comes forward so this simple but elegant ring can be saved for the nation," Vaisey told the Associated Press.
If a buyer comes forward, Clarkson has agreed to sell the ring. But she won't be completely bereft of Jane Austen works, as she also bought a first edition of Austen's "Persuasion" during last year's Sotheby's sale.
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