NEW YORK — Joan Parker, public relations director for De Beers LV, is expected to leave her position at the jewelry retailer today.
Parker has been with De Beers LV, established in 2001 in a joint venture between diamond mining and marketing company De Beers Group and luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, for three years. She has worked for the De Beers Group in various capacities for more than 30 years.
Parker’s immediate plans are to take the summer off. She said she is returning to work in September in a new role, which could be in the jewelry industry, but she would not elaborate. A replacement for Parker has not been named.
“My contract [with De Beers LV] was only for a certain amount of time, and I really wanted to do something else,” said Parker. “I came on board to launch the De Beers stores and come up with an overall public relations strategy for the launches, and now that the big stores are open, this has become more of a media relations job. It’s less directorial and more executional.”
De Beers LV opened its first store, at 7,500 square feet, in London on the corner of Piccadilly and Old Bond Street in November 2002. It followed that with three in-store shops in Tokyo — at Takashimaya in Nihonbashi, Matsuya in Ginza and Isetan in Shinjuku. De Beers LV made its U.S. debut a year ago with the opening of a 6,000-square-foot store at 703 Fifth Avenue here, which was followed in December by the opening of a 2,500-square-foot store at 401 Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
Parker said that of all the launches she has orchestrated for the retailer, none was more exciting than the unveiling of De Beers LV’s new jewelry during an AmfAR benefit held at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2002. Parker was instrumental in getting Iman, Sharon Stone and Elizabeth Taylor on stage at the same time, which included putting Iman in De Beers’ 203-carat Millennium Star Diamond and Stone in its first designed necklace, which sold at auction that night for $150,000.
Parker began working in public relations in the Fifties at Bonwit Teller and Elizabeth Arden. She founded her own consulting firm, Joan Parker Publicity, in 1961. In 1967, N.W. Ayer hired Parker on a consulting basis to oversee the Diamond Information Center, which promotes diamonds on behalf of the trade and was founded by the Diamond Trading Co., the marketing arm of De Beers Group. Parker said that while at the Diamond Information Center, she helped ramp up the profile of its yearly competitions for diamond jewelry designers, improve relations among fine jewelry retailers and increase the exposure of diamond jewelry on the red carpet and in movies.
N.W. Ayer purchased Parker’s firm in the mid-Seventies. In addition to running the Diamond Information Center, Parker was managing director for accounts that included J.C. Penney, the Bahamas Tourist Bureau and the U.S. Army, as well as more luxury clients she brought in from her own agency, such as the launches of Steuben jewelry and Asprey at Trump Tower. In 1995, Parker left to join the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, which had just taken over the Diamond Trading Co. account and with it the Diamond Information Center.