Are British officials showing too much pride and prejudice in regard to jewelry?
Britain’s national culture minister reportedly has issued a temporary export ban that has stopped pop star Kelly Clarkson from taking home a ring she purchased anonymously last year at a Sotheby’s jewelry auction.
The ring, a turquoise stone set in antique gold, is one of only three surviving pieces of jewelry known to have belonged to famed British novelist Jane Austen. After the Pride and Prejudice author died in 1817, the bauble was passed down to her sister Cassandra.
Last July, Clarkson outbid seven other hopefuls, paying $233,000 for the ring—more than five times the presale estimate.
According to USA Today, British officials, who deem the jewel a “national treasure,” are hoping it will stay put in England.
In Britain, the owner of an item considered a “national treasure” has to apply for an export license. In Clarkson’s case, The Telegraph reported, the committee deferred its decision on granting the license until Sept. 30 after the American Idol first season winner agreed that she would sell it if a matching offer could be found.
The ban will go through Sept. 30, but could be extended through December if a British resident shows interest in purchasing it. According to the Telegraph report, any buyer would have to agree to display it in public for at least 100 days of the year.
Sotheby’s has declined to comment.