Page 74 - The Montecito Journal Winter Spring 2009

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avid Tallman
calls himself a goldsmith, but
we see him as a creator of talismans for folks
lucky enough to own one of his creations. David
contacted us after the last issue of
Montecito Journal
(glossy edition) and fretted that we had left him out of our roundup of
Montecito jewelers (“The Search for Jewels and Gems”).
indeed left him out, but can’t be blamed entirely; David
has no Montecito showroom. But, he has worked for nearly all the
jewelers in town, has lived in Montecito for almost forty years and
has been fabricating intricate, whimsical, elaborate, and absolutely
stunning set pieces – some of which we dare say are museum worthy
– for at least as long.
A talisman is defined by Encarta as “an object, for example, a
stone or jewel, believed to give magical powers to somebody
who carries or wears it.” We believe much of Mr. Tallman’s
work falls into that category, but we’ll let the readers be the
judge of his magical abilities by offering the accompanying
photographic evidence of his work.
David is a remnant of another time. He moved to
Montecito from Holland in 1970 to try and nurse his then-
wife back to health. Because of her illness, “Dutch doctors wanted
to perform a hysterectomy,” David explains during our
interview in a private home on Middle Road, “but I
fought for her to keep her organs.” He was a practicing
Buddhist and once back in the United States he put his wife
on a strict diet as a pathway to a cure.
“We practiced oriental medicine and over time
my wife got well; she got pregnant; we had a baby
girl and moved to Tabor Lane,” he says with great
satisfaction. “A year later,” he adds, “we moved to
Buena Vista, and a year later had a second baby
girl. During that time I caught the whole ocean
[he was a dedicated fisherman] and grew a
vegetable garden.
“I am very proud to say that both my
daughters graduated from USC, and
married their collegiate boyfriends,” Tallman
notes, adding, “I am very happy to have five
At The Corcoran
One of his greatest achievements, he says, “was being asked
to show my work at the Corcoran Gallery of
Art,” and we have no reason to doubt it,
especially after inspecting a collection of his
prized artwork.
David developed his jewelry business and
succeeded in selling jewelry to a variety of galleries, museums,
Montecito residents, movie stars, and rockers. He said, “I was blessed
with success.”
But, the high life he had chosen caught up with him and caused him
to lose his work, his family, and his home. “Five successive years of
[overusing] drugs and alcohol took me out and put me on the street,”
by Thedim Fiste
spr ing
boar’s tusk
wrapped in
18-karat gold,
embedded with
diamonds and rubies
Large abalone pearl
found outside San
Miguel Island by an
urchin diver, wrapped
in 18-karat gold