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Wax Won't Wane

Forget simplistic designs and age-old function. Fancy shapes and fragrances have moved candles beyond just lighting up dining rooms.

July 09, 1996|ASSOCIATED PRESS

Candles are lighting up in unlikely places. They're floating in the bathtub and the pool as party accents and replacing firewood as a focus on the hearth.

Today's candles are far removed from the traditional 12-inch tapers on the dining room table. They're everywhere, indoors and out. Novelties come in sizes ranging from tiny votives to pillars the size of logs, and all sorts of fanciful shapes from animals and reptiles to flowers and fruits. Aromas--from vanilla, coffee, lavender and cedar to designer perfumes--waft from scented wax in frosted glass or fanciful resin holders.

J.C. Edmond, president of the National Candle Assn. and of General Wax & Candle Co. in North Hollywood, estimates sales of decorative candles at about $600 million a year, up about 20% from 1993 estimates. Prices vary widely, from about 50 cents for a scented votive to about $50 for a large decorated column.

Kathy LeVanier, vice president for Wicks 'n' Sticks, a Houston-based retailer, says floating candles are tremendously popular, as are scented candles and treasure candles that burn down to yield a small gift.

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