Quartzsite, incorporated in 1989, is sometimes referred to as "A Rockhounder's Paradise." The small desert town of 3,000 lies about 18 miles east of the Arizona-California border.
Tourism is the major economic factor in town with over 70 different mobile home and trailer parks in and around the area. These parks fill to capacity during the fall and winter months. People are drawn to town because of the numerous gem, mineral and swap meet shows spread out from October through March. It is estimated that nearly a million visitors flock to Quartzsite each year.
The Quartzsite shows are famous among professional and amateur lapidaries and jewelry artists. About 3,000 vendors from all over come to Quartzsite to sell virtually anything and everything, including serious dealers (about 500) of rocks, minerals, gems, fossils and jewelry. Of the ten or more shows happening simultaneously there are four that are strictly rock and mineral related: Desert Gardens Show, QIA Pow Wow, Prospector’s Panorama, and Tyson Wells Show. Prices are notoriously cheap and all shows have free admission and parking and no registration is required.