Observations about Current Crowns and Coronets

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Presented by Mistress Eowyn Amberdrake


  • Weight. Lighter is better than heavier. Those with very open coronets (wires rather than solid), aluminum, and leather recommended those materials. Also, metalwork that is raised, rather than solid, is both strong and lighter weight than a solid piece.
  • Dull points. Don't want to cut your hand while pushing the crown back into place.
  • Regal. It should look like what it is - crown, ducal coronet, baronial coronet -- not casual.
  • Sturdy. Don't want pieces falling off, or that need fussing with. Many stones are relatively fragile. Little wires and pins get bent, break, or fall out.

Lining and Padding

Most current coronets have some padding on the inside, to keep the metal from contacting the head, and to allow the coronet to be sized to one's head. For a personal coronet, the coronet's metal band can be made a specific size and then padding can be permanently affixed. For a ceremonial coronet or crown, such as the Crown of Caid or the coronet of a Territorial Baron, the padding needs to be changed for each new wearer. Here are some of the padding options currently (Nov. 2010) in use in Caid.

Attachment in many cases is glue or double-stick tape. That attachement method is removed by pulling it off and scraping off the residue.

  • weather stripping. It is plastic, easily purchased, inexpensive, fairly thin but has some give, and comes with one sticky side to allow it to be pressed onto the metal band to affix it. May slide when placed on a coif or veil.
  • close-cell foam. It is plastic, in the kit of every hard-suit fighter, thicker than weather stripping, has some give. Looks modern when glimpsed above rim. May slide when placed on a coif or veil.
  • open-cell cushion foam. It is very squishy, and looks modern when glimpsed above the rim. Can absorb perspiration, softer to the touch than close-cell foam. It tends to not slide when placed on a coif or veil.
  • leather. It was available historically, comes in various thicknesses (though still thin), absorbs some perspiration,and has a little bit of give. It was affixed to coronets in one of two ways: glued directly to the metal band (see above), or riveted to the bottom edge of the metal band, and curled upwards. The latter is a relatively permanent choice, but depending on the stiffness of the leather, provides some additional "give" because it is rolled up. Looks fine when glimpsed above rim.
  • felt. It was available historically, comes in various thicknesses (though still thin), can absorb a fair amount of perspiration, and has a little bit of give. It tends to not slide when placed on a coif or veil. It was affixed to coronets with glue or double-stick tape.
  • stuffed roll It was available historically, can be made in various thicknesses, can absorb perspiration, and has as much give as desired. Filling can be whatever is desired - at least one was filled with felt, but quilt stuffing or fleece is also possible. Some were affixed directly to coronets with glue or double-stick tape (reasonable if one owns the coronet), sewed to an attached liner (the rolled up leather in one case, a glued piece of fabric in another - reasonable whether coronet is owned or passed on), and one used velcro (reasonable if crown is passed on). The fuzzy part of the velcro was stuck to the metal of the coronet, and the prickly part was attached to the stuffed roll. The roll is easily removed and replaced, and the velcro is never seen.
    • velvet. May slide on coif or veil. Looks spiffy when glimpsed above rim.
    • linen. Does not slide when placed on a coif or veil. Looks fine when glimpsed above rim.

Historical Plaque Crowns

Let us call the shape of a square topped with a half-circle a "tombstone" shape. It is the most common shape for these crowns. Plaques were hinged together, with long wire/rivet joining the tubes attached (or rolled) to each plaque. There was lots of enamel-work on these crowns, and colored areas (enamel or crystalline stones) were open in back to allow light to shine through the fired glass or cabuchons.

  • Crown of the Holy Roman Empire: 8 plaques, all shaped like a tombstone. Four are larger, four are lower. Covered with jewels, alternating with enamelled pictures, it appears to be hinged between sections. Two strips of iron, riveted with golden rivets to the plates, hold the crown together and give it its octagonal shape. The front plaque is topped by a cross, and a bridge joins that cross to the plaque in the rear. All plaques are flat (the crown does not flare outwards). Worn with a red cap of maintenance, it dates from the reign of Otto I (912–973).
  • Crown of Hungary, aka Crown of St. Stephen. It was received from the Pope in the year 1000. The surviving crown dates from later in that century. It is not made of plaques, but construction could be simulated with plaques. The lower part (the part to simulate) is a Byzantine crown dating from the 1070s with enamel medallions alternating with large stones. The top edge has 2 tombstone shapes (front and back). At the sides are two smaller halfcircle shapes, and between the front tombstone and the halfcircle, the upper edge has triangle, 3/4-circle, triangle. The edge shapes are enamelled, and topped with colored pearls. The back of the crown does not have the edge shapes, just a series of pearls on pins. There is a row of pearls around the base of the crown, and around the top before one gets to the edge shapes. There are 4 dangles on each side, each ending in a triple of stones. The Latin crown portion is a cross over the crown of the head. There is a replica in the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum in Atlanta.
  • Iron Crown of Lombardy. Six hinged segments, but supposedly there were originally eight. Atop the thin band of iron are segments of gold and enamel, joined together by hinges and set with precious stones. Supposedly Princess Theodelinda donated the crown to the Italian church at Monza in 628. Others think that the crown was forged in the 9th century. Wikipedia says, "Australian National Tandem for Applied Research) tested the samples of the beeswax and clay mixture used to hold the gemstones of the Iron Crown in their settings and concluded that the Iron Crown was made between 700 and 780." The plaques are rectangles, decorated with gems and enamel. Diameter currently is 6", so very small indeed.

Early Crowns

  • Crown of Svintilla, King of the Visigoths, 621-631. It is a circlet of thick gold set with pearls, sapphires and other stones. It has been given as a votive offering to a church. Attached to its upper rim are the chains whereby to suspend it, and from the lower rim hang letters of red-coloured glass or paste which read +Svintilanvs Rex Offeret. Two other Visigothic crowns are also preserved with it in the Armeria Real. The queen's crown also had little loops, top and bottom, to attach a lining or cap, (per the 1912 Encyclopedia Britannica).
  • Crown of Reccesvinto, King of the Visigoths, 653 to 675. It is composed of a circlet of pure gold set with pearls and precious stones in great profusion, which gives it a most sumptuous appearance. It is 9 in. in diameter and more than 2 in. in thickness, the width of the circlet being 4 in. It has also been given as a votive offering to a church, (per the 1912 Encyclopedia Britannica).