Joan Parker is saying goodbye to nearly 30 years working for De Beers when she leaves the company this summer.
Parker is the PR director for De Beers LV, the retail chain half-owned by the De Beers Group (and technically a separate company). Before that, she spent over 25 years promoting diamonds for De Beers as head of the Diamond Information Center.
In the near future, Parker says she’s writing a book about her industry experiences, and “will announce what I’m doing in September.” “I want another challenge,” she says. “I’ve done what I set out to do [at De Beers LV], establish it as a brand, and now I need to move on to something new.”
Parker began at the Diamond Information Center in the 1970s, then at ad agency N.W. Ayer.
“It was a very sleepy organization,” she says. “They were doigthings like talking to women’s groups.”
Parker helped build, as she says “a PR operation from scratch,” and launching the whole trend of putting diamonds on celebrities on events like award shows.
One of the early successes came after Chris Everett dropped her bracelet on the floor. So the bracelet was dubbed the “tennis bracelet” and became a phenomenon – and many still call it that to this day.
Eventually Parker was named director of public relations for all of N.W. Ayer’s accounts. She later joined the account when it moved to J. Walter Thompson.