By and  on May 2, 1994

NEW YORK -- Vendors at the upcoming Fashion Accessories Expo will try new pricing and new products to stoke fall business.

As of Friday, show management reported 702 exhibitors have signed up for the show, scheduled for May 10-12 at Piers 90 and 92 here. There were 720 a year ago.

Prices will be going both up and down, as resources look to broaden their markets.

In fashion jewelry, in particular, some firms say they'll be offering more higher-priced items in silver, aiming to capitalize on one of the few hot trends in an otherwise tepid jewelry business. Some say that more expensive items also meet a consumer demand for more intrinsic value.

In other merchandise as well as in jewelry, vendors will be playing up novelties and sometimes expanded groups -- hitting harder on trends rather than basics -- to whet fashion appetites.

John Wind, owner/designer of Maximal Art, a Philadelphia-based jewelry and watch firm, said one thing he'll concentrate on at the FAE is attracting a new customer with newly lowered prices on his watches and some of his jewelry.

Wind said he has dropped his watch wholesale prices by about 20 percent, which brings them into the $40 to $65 range. In his jewelry line, which is priced from $18 to $65, he will introduce a new group that will run from $7 to $18.

"Ordinarily, we do a lot of handmade things, but to get prices down, we're using cast pieces," he said. "The look is the same, but the jewelry is not as labor-intensive."

Debra Cates, vice president of Christopher's Enterprises, a jewelry firm that specializes in Southwestern looks, said her firm will branch into a new look to spark business.

The company, based in Albuquerque, N.M., will roll out a line from Paris called Charabia that it will represent in the U.S.

Charabia features handmade jewelry in resin, leather and ceramic as well as goldplated and silverplated pieces. The line wholesales from about $11 to $24, and one of the collection's designers will be on hand from Paris to meet retailers.

The firm will also offer a collection of accessories display fixtures made of handcarved pine or aspen that, according to Cates, has done well at European trade shows.

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