Museum brings home Jane Austen’s ring  

Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, announced that its fundraising campaign to ‘bring home’ a gold and turquoise ring once owned by Jane Austen (1775-1817) has been successful, preventing it from leaving the UK.

The ring was sold at auction in 2012 after having been in the Austen family ownership for over 200 years. At the time the Museum was unable to raise enough mean to reach the hammer price of £150,000. Thankfully it was snapped up by long-time Austen fan, the American singer Kelly Clarkson, but it became subject to a temporary export ban and Clarkson was prevented from taking it out of the UK.

So it was down to work with a ‘Bring the Ring Home’ fundraising appeal which was boosted with an anonymous donor coming forward immediately with a pledge of £100,000, and Austen fans from all over the world adding their donations. Mary Guyatt, Curator of Jane Austen’s House Museum, said: ‘The Museum has been stunned by the generosity and light-footedness of all those who have supported our campaign to meet the costs of acquiring Jane Austen’s ring for our permanent collection. Visitors come from all around the world to see the house where she once lived and we will now take great pleasure in displaying this pretty ring for their appreciation. The Government’s decision to decline an export licence reflects how rarely Austen’s personal effects turn up in today’s art market, and having missed out at auction in 2012 we are thrilled to have had this second chance to bring it home to Chawton.’

Kelly Clarkson, on hearing that the Museum had been successful in raising funds to purchase the ring, said ‘The ring is a beautiful national treasure and I am happy to know that so many Jane Austen fans will get to see it at Jane Austen’s House Museum.’ What a woman, especially as she has been pictured wearing the stunning blue ring. 

The ring will be put on display at Jane Austen’s House Museum in the New Year, when it is hoped that Ms Clarkson might pay a visit to see the ring that got away.