The Master Craftsman


The name G. Phil Poirier is synonymous with hydraulic forming. But as a high school kid dabbling in jewelry in the 1970s, Phil had a bent for invention that was spurred by necessity. In the absence of specialized tools, materials and readily available knowledge, Phil had to become his own toolmaker, gem-cutter and teacher. “I needed to do things to my jewelry that I couldn’t do with available tools,” he says, “so I started making my own.”

A move from San Diego, Calif., to Taos, N.M., plunged the jeweler even deeper into creating not just beautiful pieces but entire processes to support them. Those twin desires dovetailed when Phil discovered Bonny Doon Engineering. It was love at first punch. He bought the hydraulic press company and relocated it to Taos in 1990.

For Phil, the science of engineering is a powerful tool in understanding, and expanding, the art of jewelry. “I’m very much an explorer,” he says. “I don’t want to skim over the surface. I want to really dive into it.”