Kelly Clarkson has been forced to sell a ring that was once owned by Jane Austen, after Britain blocked the export until Austen’s House Museum raised enough money to pay the "American Idol" winner for the gold-and-turquoise piece of jewelry, reports USA Today.
British newspapers reported that Clarkson had been "thwarted" in her wish to bring the ring to the U.S., the story notes.
Clarkson was gracious about the sale, saying in a statement, "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."
USA Today notes, "Like most countries with deep reserves of art and antiques (but not the USA), Britain can block the export of items it considers national treasures. Anything belonging to the divine Miss Austen is considered sufficiently rare, if not outright sacred, to keep in the country, since very little else owned by Austen remains. Austen left the ring to her sister, and it had remained in her family for two centuries."
Clarkson won the ring at a Sotheby’s auction, bidding five times the pre-auction estimate. To keep the ring in the U.K., the British needed to raise about $248,000 to pay the singer.
Donations from Austen fans funded the purchase, including $158,000 coming from one anonymous donor, the story says.
Clarkson, an Austen fan, is reportedly wearing a replica of the ring.