Nanci Anne Modica was born and raised in the town of Manhasset on Long Island. Her father Frank Modica, a native New Yorker, was a jazz musician who played trumpet with big bands in the 1950s before moving on to become an agent for twentieth century musical greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughan, and Dave Brubeck, whom he represented for over forty years.
Nanci began to study jewelry making while still in high school, attending night and weekend classes at Parsons School of Design and Kulicke-Stark Academy in New York City where she studied under Robert Kulicke and Bessie Jamieson, owner of the Jewelry Arts Institute. Nanci moved to Manhattan as a teenager where she worked for the painter Keith Haring while continuing to learn the art of jewelry making. After Haring’s death in 1990 she began an apprenticeship in classical jewelry construction with Bessie Jamieson, who would become a lifelong mentor. Nanci’s work with Jamieson included assisting with demonstrations of ancient jewelry construction techniques during the “Greek Gold” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1992. She also worked as a teaching assistant, demonstrating jewelry making at the Bard College graduate program and the World Gold Council.
After completing her apprenticeship in 1994 Nanci continued as a full-time instructor at Jewelry Arts until 2003 when she launched Lunula* Studios, located in the Soho District of Manhattan and specializing in high karat Classical and contemporary gold jewelry. At Lunula Nanci collaborated with top goldsmiths to create pieces for galleries and private clients while continuing to teach and make jewelry on her own. Between 2010 and 2014 she partnered with jewelers Bikakis and Johns, with whom she shared a twenty year relationship.
In 2014 Nanci moved her studio from downtown Manhattan to the Vinegar Hill section of Brooklyn, also known as DUMBO, which is the home of Atelier Modica. After thirty-two years she continues to work closely with her mentor, Bessie Jamieson. Nanci is an avid cyclist and a founder of the all female competitive cycling team Radical Media Racing. She lives in Hell’s Kitchen with her husband Jesus Perera and their awesome son Frankie.
*a crescent shaped amulet worn by young girls in the ancient world to protect them from harm.