Well, no, Jane Austen did not carry the One Ring for much of her days, only relinquishing it in death after an unnaturally extended life. But Kelly Clarkson did buy it in auction, and the UK wasn’t too comfortable with that, so various folks and one anonymous donor have managed to raise the funds and buy it back. This makes the author’s old jewelry one of the national treasures of the United Kingdom.
Here’s the sequence of events: earlier this year, the singer paid £152,450 at auction to take possession of the ring, a gold band with a turquoise stone, outbidding the Jane Austen House Museum. Concerned about the rarity of documented surviving possessions of Jane Austen, Culture minister Ed Vaizey put a temporary export bar on the ring itself. If a buyer could come forward to match Clarkson’s winning bid by September 30th, and would keep the ring in England, Clarkson would be paid back and the item would go to the new buyer.
Austen’s ring isn’t the only item of interest to be deemed a British national treasure and temporarily halted in its export by a bar, including Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin’s Bentley Blower racing car, an archive of letters from General James Wolfe, material that documented the Gregory Expedition to Northern Australia. And things were looking dicey for a while for Austen fans, even after an anonymous donor awarded the Jane Austen House Museum £100,000 towards their campaign to purchase the ring. But last month it was announced that the Museum had successfully raised the funds, the money would change hands before the end of this month, and Austen’s ring would return to her family home.
Clarkson, who has been spotted wearing a replica of the ring in the meantime, was gracious: The ring is a beautiful national treasure and I am happy to know that so many Jane Austen fans will get to see it.” Don’t worry, Ms. Clarkson, I’m sure you’re better off without the corrupting power to create timeless novels that ensnare the minds of men and women alike. That’s what all rings do right? Confer magical powers?
(via The Guardian.)