U.S. singer Kelly Clarkson acquired the bauble at a Sotheby's auction in London last year, but British Culture Minister Ed Vaizey placed an export ban on it until Sept. 30 to allow someone in Austen's native England "to show a serious expression of interest to buy the ring."
The Jane Austen museum in the "Pride and Prejudice" author's home in Chawton is attempting to raise the $230,000 needed to buy back the ring and, thanks to the anonymous donor, is now close to meeting its goal.
"Kelly Clarkson should have been informed that this export ban was likely to happen. This is nothing against her at all -- it could be anyone -- and it does happen all the time, but we know that it is shame for her," fundraiser and former museum curator Louise West told The Telegraph.
"We are very confident we can match this price. But the ring should stay in this country because there is so little of Austen's personal effects left anywhere at all and it would be great to bring it back to the house where she probably wore it and on the bicentennial year of the publishing of 'Pride and Prejudice.'"
Austen also penned the classic 19th century romances "Emma," "Mansfield Park," "Persuasion," "Northanger Abbey" and "Sense and Sensibility."
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