Anonymous donor gives Jane Austen charity £100k to buy author's ring

Jane Austen's House Museum launched a campaign last week to keep the ring in the UK

The ring was sold at auction last year
The ring was sold at auction last year

A charity has received an anonymous £100,000 donation to help it purchase a ring once owned by Jane Austen.

Jane Austen’s House Museum, an independent Hampshire-based museum run by the Jane Austen Memorial Trust, launched a campaign last Friday to raise the £152,450 required to purchase the ring.

The gold and turquoise ring is owned by American pop singer Kelly Clarkson, who bought it for around £150,000 at an auction last year. It was previously owned by members of the Austen family.

Earlier this month, Ed Vaizey, the culture minister, placed a temporary export ban on the ring because of its historical importance.

Vaizey said in a statement: "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."

Potential buyers have been given until 30 September to raise £152,400 to purchase the ring. This period can be extended to December 2013 "if serious intention to raise funds to purchase the ring is made", the DCMS statement said.

A spokeswoman for the museum said it had received an anonymous £100,000 donation towards the purchase of the ring and had raised an additional £3,200 from other sources so far.

If the museum is successful in purchasing the ring, the spokeswoman said, it will be displayed alongside the only other pieces of jewellery known to have been owned by Austen - a turquoise beaded bracelet and a topaz cross given to her by her brother Charles.

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