Last year, Kelly Clarkson spent big bucks — more than $230,000 — at a U.K. auction to purchase a ring once owned by the late Jane Austen, author of the classic novel Pride and Prejudice. But now, the British government has moved to officially ban Kelly from taking it out of the country.
The U.K. paper The Telegraph reports that Ed Vaizey, Britain’s culture minister, has put what’s called an “export bar” on the gold and turquoise ring, so that it remains in the U.K. It’s one of only three surviving pieces of jewelry known to have belonged to Austen, who died in 1817.
Because Jane Austen is one of the most famous British authors in history, the ring is considered a “national treasure,” which is why the government gets to decide whether or not it can leave the country. Kelly has agreed that if someone else comes up with a matching offer, she’ll sell it, but whoever buys it must agree to display it in public for at least 100 days out of the year.
In a statement, 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 U.K. buyer comes forward so this simple but elegant ring can be saved for the nation.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
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