Here's something we didn't know: Kelly Clarkson bought a gold ring once owned by Jane Austen at an action last year. Here's something else we didn't know: The ring is in the UK and the government doesn't want it leaving the country. Permission denied!
The ring was a pretty good use of American Idol-fame income, you have to admit. It's one of only three pieces of jewelry known to have belonged to Jane Austen, and Kelly got it for around $228,000.
But as the BBC reports, UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey is very vexed about the ring — a "national treasure" — going to the hideously filthy, uncouth, savage land formerly colonized but now known as the United States. Actually, what he said was:
"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."
This incensed gentleman is actually blocking export of the ring and asking UK buyers to snatch the ring from Kelly Clarkson's possession, since she hasn't picked it up yet:
Buyers have until 30 September to match the £152,450 price tag.
If a UK institution or private buyer does not come forward by the deadline then the export licence for the ring will be granted.
On the one hand, yes, it sucks when culturally important items leave your homeland — hey, Vaizey, why don't you ask Egypt how they feel about all the Ancient Egyptian artifacts in the British Museum? But Kelly Clarkson obviously bought the ring because she wants the ring, so trying to sell it from under her is kind of rude. On the other hand, Kelly might just want to relinquish ownership just to squash the kerfuffle and avoid an International Incident. Also, if someone else buys it, she can sing about the ring. Since you've been gone… I can breathe for the first time. I'm so moving on. Yeah. Yeah.