This document is an attempt to collect and make easy to understand the circlet conventions used here in An Tir. Its a sort of "what do I get to wear with my AoA?", "What is that pointy thing he's wearing, and what does it mean?" type of document. I hope its easy enough to understand, and that it's of use. I will attempt to add pictures or drawings to spice up the document.
The main source of docuementation is of course The An Tir Handbook, but I have pulled information from a variety of sources included Laurel Queen at Arms rulings, and discussion with notable Peers of the Realm. Enough chatter! On with the shiny things!!
Contrary to what some people may tell you, anyone may wear a plain unadorned circlet. Its useful to hold that veil on, or keep your hair back. Laurel Queen at Arms confirmed this recently in one of her Letters of Acceptance and Returns. In the October 1998 Letter, she said "We also want to reiterate something a number of our predecessors said. Anyone in the SCA, of whatever rank or status, may wear a thin metal band such as the type that is used to hold hair in its place or to hold a veil in its place." I would recomend no more than an inch high, with no adornment or engraving of any kind. The circlet should also be flat across the top with no ups and downs, to help eliminate any "accidental promotions" in rank.
The first of the Kingdom awards to carry with it a circlet designation of some sort. With your Award of Arms you earn the right to wear a fancier version of the plain circlet. You can have a single stone mounted on the face (not above, as that would start to look like something else), and/or engraving and decoration on the circlet. There are three awards that carry with them an Award of Arms: Court Baron/Baroness, Landed Baron/Baroness, and, of course, the Award of Arms. (See separate notes about baronial circlets below.)
The award of Court Baron/Baroness carries with it (if one doesn't already have one) an Award of Arms. But as a convention in An Tir, there is a separate circlet one is entitled to bear. A coronet consisting of a band surmounted by 6 pearls may be worn.
The title of Baron/Baroness carries with it (if one doesn't already have one) an Award of Arms. Most baronies already have a coronet that is used, but if not, one is entitled to bear a coronet consisting of a band surmounted by 6 pearls.
This is the second level of awards that An Tir gives out. At this level you earn the right to an even fancier version of the plain circlet. You may have several stones mounted on the face, and even more decoration if you so wish. There are currently five awards in the kingdom which convey a Grant of Arms: Goutte de Sang, Grey Goose Shaft, Jambe de Lion, White Scarf, and the Hasta Leonis.
Next is what is known as a Patent of Arms, which is given to peers and royal peers. There are many variations to these levels so I will list them separately.
Members of the Order of the Pelican and of the Laurel may wear a circlet which bears the badge of their orders.
As per a Laurel ruling back in November of '91, There is no standard coronet for Viscounty. Da'ud ibn Auda had this to say ... "As noted in the cover letter of December 2, 1984, and the LoAR of December 15, 1985, 'There is no "standard" viscomital coronet, either as a physical entity or an heraldic convention.' Viscounts and Viscountesses may use the default heraldic coronet (a crown indented of three points) if they so choose."
Many of the Kingdoms have chosen to develop their own customs and tradition for this rank, and each one seems to be different from the others. The Kingdoms of the West and Artemisia use a single point in the center, which may be confused with our Prince/Princess coronets. The Kingdoms of the Middle, Ealdormere, Calontir, and Trimaris use silver embattling for Viscount, and gold embattling for Count. The Kingdom of Ansteorra uses the following: Viscounts and Viscountesses shall have the exclusive right to wear coronets with one, four, or six semi-circular projections. Those of viscounty rank may, if they choose, wear a flat-topped coronet. The Kingdom of Lochac uses a coronet of five points: three (3) whole points and two (2) half-points. So as you can see there is quite a bit of variation among the Areas of the Knowne Worlde.
Also in this letter, she mentioned other regalia that is registered. (Fieldless) A coronet with strawberry leaves is registered for persons of the Duke/Duchess rank. This is the form that coronet of rank takes as well. Registered also means that this is reserved for use only by the appropriate rank in heraldic display.