When I opened the envelope of Swarovski rhinestones I’d ordered, I thought, “How can something that small be that tacky?”

But I should have known. When I was seven years old, a rich family friend gave me a Swarovski duck figurine. It was a thing to behold: faceted body and wings and duck bill caught the light and threw shards of rainbow around my bedroom. I thought it was the prettiest, sparkliest thing I’d ever seen.

But I was seven. And I had no taste.

I am still recovering from that sparklexperience. (Add to that: many of my high school classmates could have mentored the Jersey Shore gang in the Gaudy Arts of sparkly baubles, hairspray height and troweled-on eye make-up.) I really should have learned this lesson long ago. If I ever reach for something a little too blingy, I should remind myself, “Anne, this isn’t going to end well.”

But here I was: staring at a tiny heap of too-sparkly gaudy rhinestones. A week earlier my favorite supplier was having a sale on Swarovski elements and I thought that this would be the perfect oportunity to explore the rhinestone-studded filigree trend. (Blingy filigree jewelry is not my aesthetic, but I like to explore different looks to broaden my own style. If I didn’t do this, I’d still be puffy-painting t shirts like it’s 1985.) So my plan was to add tiny rhinestone flatbacks to a pretty filigree base and see where it took me.

But now it felt all wrong. A part of me knew that this wouldn’t work. But I was committed and I hoped that there would be some redemption to this project. So I dove in, affixing rhinestones as planned, but with each rhinestone, the piece got uglier and uglier. (I sometimes experience an artistic phenomenon in which I feel that increasing ugliness is a “darkest before dawn” moment and I press on through ugly hoping for a miracle.)

When I finished . . . I beheld the gaudiest thing I’d ever made. It was a Pokemonic, seizure-inducing piece of fugly.

Why, Swarovski?!! Why?!!

I am disgusted with Swarovski right now. I know that some people can do the Swarovski thing well, but I cannot. I now consider “Swarovski” as I do “handling uranium”: one small mistake, and you’ve got one hot mess.