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Jane Austen ring seen for the first time

The ring, which is gold and set with a cabochon blue stone, has remained with the author’s descendants until this present day.

According to Sotheby’s, the stone is probably odontalite, a form of fossilised dentine that has been heated to give a distinctive blue colour, which came into fashion in the early 19th century as a substitute for turquoise.

The lot consists not only of the ring but also of an autograph note signed by Eleanor Austen to her niece Caroline Austen, written in 1863: “My dear Caroline. The enclosed ring once belonged to your Aunt Jane. It was given to me by your Aunt Cassandra as soon as she knew that I was engaged to your uncle. I bequeath it to you. God bless you!”

It is thought that there are few items of jewellery that belonged to Austen still in existence.

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