Last month, officials at England's Jane Austen's House Museum moved one step closer to raising the necessary funds to buy back a ring once owned by the author when an anonymous donor gave the museum a portion of the money needed. That fundraising effort is over now, as the museum announced today that it has raised enough money to prevent the owner from keeping it.
That owner is none other than American singer Kelly Clarkson. The "American Idol" winner, who is a fan of the author and wears a replica of the ring in question, outbid the museum to win the ring at a Sotheby's auction last year for over $200,000. Clarkson never got the chance to bring the ring to America, however, because Britain imposed an export ban on the ring in order to give museum fundraisers time to keep the ring in its home country.
Jane Austen's House Museum, which is located inside the author's former southern England residence in Chawton, Hampshire County, reportedly offered Clarkson $253,300 to buy the turquoise and gold ring, which the singer accepted.
The ring is said to be one of only three surviving pieces of jewelry owned by Austen and will go on display in the museum early next year.
"The museum has been stunned by the generosity and light-footedness of all those who have supported our campaign," museum curator Mary Guyatt said, and the museum's website currently displays a message giving a "massive thank you" to everyone who donated to the effort.