About Us

Mineshaft was started by Peter Blythe in 1978. Peter has had a passion for gemstones all his life. Both his grandfather and uncles were involved in mining and one of his uncles chased black opal at Lightning Ridge.

Most of the opal on display on this site has been mined and/or cut by Peter. He had many years of professional mining experience at Mintabie Opal Fields where he discovered many pockets of opal. These pockets contained black opal, crystal opal and semi black opal. This was followed by several years mining boulder opal in the area North West of Quilpie in Queensland.

Mineshaft stock opal from other famous Australian opal fields including Lightning Ridge, famous for its black opal, Andamooka, well known for its crystal opal, and Coober Pedy, known for its magnificent light opal.

Peter with giant boulder

Apart from opal jewelry, we have many hand crafted collectibles made from opal. These collectable pieces are crafted from large specimens of Boulder Opal and include unique carvings of koalas, elephants, snakes, lizards and other interesting pieces. You will also find a wide range of opal beads, opal watches and opal pens.

In addition to the famous Australian Opal, we also have a large range of other gemstones, gemstone jewelry, crystals, carvings and collectables.

As Peter is cutting opal on a regular basis, the range of cut opals is constantly changing. Every now and then he comes across a wonderful gem opal. This may be from Mintabie, Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy, Andamooka or perhaps a remote boulder opal mine in the deserts of Queensland. This gem is then set in a beautiful gold or silver hand crafted setting and offered for sale.

During his extensive experience in the opal mining industry, Peter has established an extensive network of friends and business associates in the gemstone and crystal industries. These contacts and friends extend to all parts of the globe and Peter is always acquiring new and exciting items to offer our customers.

Mineshaft is the major opal and opal jewelry source in Canberra and as Canberra is the location of most of the diplomatic embassies in Australia, we have built our reputation and business from this diverse market and we are experienced with supplying a world wide clientele.

Because we have customers in all four corners of the globe we embarked on this ambitious website project to keep in touch and be able to offer both old and new customers the very best in opal jewelry, loose opal and collectables.

If you can’t find it on our website contact Peter with your requirements and he will endeavor to find it for you. E mail him at mineshaft@webone.com.au

Our retail store is located in the Canberra Center, which is the main shopping mall in Canberra Australia. See us on Google Maps.

You may contact us by phone or send us an email at … mineshaft@webone.com.au

If you are in the Canberra region drop in to our shop to get a closer look at our full range.

You can purchase items from the website and we accept paypal

Meet The Team

Peter opened Mineshaft in 1978. He has had a lifetime interest in opals and gemstones. He has been cutting opals since 1964. He has spent many years professionally mining opal at Mintabie in South Australia and more recently northwest of Quilpie in southwest Queensland. Peter’s interests other then anything to do with opal and gemstones are fishing, fitness,rugby league (go you Canberra Raiders) and travel.

Peter Blythe founder and owner

Peter in the shop


Marianne in first 5km run (Oct 2014)

Marianne at start of first 5km run
(Oct 2014)

Marianne Blythe

Marianne Blythe

Marianne sieving for gems

Marianne is married to Peter. She has been interested in gemstones since she was a little girl. She has a gemmological diploma with the Gemmolgical Association of Australia. Apart from her gemmological expertise she has completed a course in pearl restringing  and is responsible for many of the unique bead designs in Mineshaft. She has been actively involved with the mining of opal at our Rainbow opal mine in southwest Queensland. Her interests other then opal and gemstones are fitness and the gym, fossicking, country music, rugby league (Go you Canberra Raiders) and travel.


Michelle and her family

Michelle and her family

Michelle and her daughter Sarah

Michelle and her daughter Sarah

Michelle Blunden Mineshaft Manager

Michelle Blunden, Mineshaft Manager

Michelle is Peter’s eldest daughter.  Michelle handles all the day to day running of the shop and most of the paperwork.  When younger, Michelle and her sister Kim would visit her father at Mintabie . Michelle enjoyed mining and spend most of the time down the mine. She was Peter’s good luck charm because on several occasions an opal pocket was found during her visit.  Her interests are her family, fishing, rugby league (go you doggies) and travel.


Jamie Blythe

Jamie Blythe

Jamie is Peter’s youngest daughter.  She works at mineshaft whenever possible. She is quite competent at filling mining trucks with an excavator. Her interests are partying, music,rugby league (go you storm) and regular hair style changes.

Tayla McTieran

Tayla McTieran

Tayla is Marianne’s daughter and Peter’e step daughter. Tayla works part time at Mineshaft when she is not working at the veterinary clinic.


Mammothcarving portrait of Sam

Mammoth carving portrait of Sam

Lose up of Sam

Close up of Sam

Sam Blythe is Peter’s second oldest son. He is currently at university and works at Mineshaft whenever possible. Sam’s best find at the Rainbow opal mine was a king brown snake when he was looking for a gecko lizard. Sam’s interests are girls, partying, karate and all those other things uni students enjoy.  Sam has now graduated from Uni with a Bachelor of Science with double majors in Genetics. He is taking some time to decide his next direction in life.


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Allen Beasley has joined our team. Allan has been a good friend for many years. He has had a life time interest in gemstones and has been faceting gemstones for many, many years. He has developed in to a gifted gem cutter. He is a perfectionist and his work can only be described as “totally professional”. Allan has many of his gems on display at Mineshaft and you can talk with him on any Saturday to discuss these or gemstones in general. He is only too happy to talk about the art of gem cutting and answer any questions you may have. Debbi works part time whenever required.


Our Bali family

Our Bali family

Wisnu Future Bali business expert

Wisnu, Future Bali business expert

Nyoman Kertia (Mineshaft's Bali representative)

Nyoman Kertia (Mineshaft’s Bali representative)

Nyoman Kertia is our Bali business representative. Nyoman has been our hard working represntative for many years and expertly handles any of our business when we need him to. He also handles business for my great  friend Jose Nunes of Two Buttons, U.S.A. (Was married to Elizabeth Gilbert the author of Eat Pray Love). Nyoman runs his own business called Norman Bali Car Rental and is one of the best drivers and tourist guides in Bali (Jose and I believe he is the best). If you need a great guide you can contact Nyoman by e mailing him at at ” kertianyoman@gmail.com.

“Mineshaft is a true family run business. It is a business run with passion, genuine interest and commitment, fueled with a network of similar people stretching across the world.


Jack & Ethan Blythe

The next generation Mineshaft manager and mine supervisor. Jack and Ethan are Peter and Marianne’s twin boys.

Rating: 4.8/5. From 12 votes.
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