Ever since Kelly Clarkson purchased a ring once owned by Jane Austen at a Sotheby’s London auction last year for £152,450 ($230,000), the U.K. has been trying to make sure the ring doesn’t leave Britain. Earlier this month, Ed Vaizey, England’s cultural minister, declared the ring a national treasure, placing a temporary ban on its export and trying to raise funds to purchase it back from Ms. Clarkson. Jane Austen’s House Museum has started a fundraising campaign.
An anonymous donor has given £100,000 (about $150,000) toward buying the ring, which Ms. Clarkson has agreed to sell, if a buyer steps forward with the right price.
Louise West, manager of Jane Austen’s House Museum told The Guardian, “We have very few of Austen’s effects, so the ring is very unusual. It has very good provenance, there’s a note from 1863 handwritten by Eleanor Jackson, second wife of Jane’s brother Henry Austen. Henry was the one to negotiate the deals with Austen’s publishers and so was a significant character in her life—and a bit of a Wickham. The note is giving it to a niece, saying this was given to me by Cassandra (Jane’s sister) when she knew I was marrying Henry and it belonged to aunt Jane.”
Jane Austen’s House Museum still needs £49,000 ($76,100) to buy back the piece of jewelry. You can donate money here.