Kelly Clarkson in battle for Jane Austen ring

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British government trying to stop turquoise design leaving country.

US singer Kelly Clarkson is facing a battle with the British government over a ring purchased at auction that was once owned by Jane Austen.

The simple gold ring is set with a turquoise cabochon. It was purchased by Clarkson at auction in 2012, where she paid more than £150,000 for the design. It is understood to be one of three remaining pieces of jewellery once owned by the famous author.

The British government, in a bid to keep the ring in the UK, is now asking alternative buyers to step forward and match the price paid by Clarkson, with culture minister Ed Vaizey putting a temporary export bar on the ring.

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According to the BBC Vaizey said he wanted the "national treasure" to be "saved for the nation", giving alternative buyers until September 30 to come forward and match the £152,450 price tag.

The Jane Austen ring comes with papers documenting its history. It was first passed on to Austen’s 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.

The deadline for payment can be extended to December 30 if proof emerges of "a serious intention to raise funds", otherwise an export licence for the ring will be granted.

Vaizey said: "Jane Austen’s modest lifestyle and her early death mean that objects associated with her of any kind are extremely rare, so I hope that a UK buyer comes forward so this simple but elegant ring can be saved for the nation."
 

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