Cecilia Tappan Minnehan was born in Lima Peru. Her career in jewelry began at the age of 14 when she apprenticed under the renowned silversmith, Juan Yucra. While attending the State University of New York at New Paltz, she spent her Junior year studying with a Blacksmith at the University of Urbino in Italy. In 1979 she received a B.S. in Art Education. After college, Cecilia moved to Boston and started designing a small line of hand crafted jewelry sold exclusively in the stores of the Kiracofe Brothers in Boston, Newport and Mackinac Island. In 1983, Cecilia went to Norway to apprentice with famed Scandinavian silversmith Uni David-Anderson. When she returned to Boston, Cecilia worked as a bench jeweler for a production jewelry house and launched Cecilia Designs as a full time business in 1985.