With the Apron and Shrine Fez, the Scottish Rite cap stands out as a distinctive piece of Masonic regalia. The Scottish Rite caps are first bestowed upon Masons who have progressed to the 32° and there are a variety of caps, differing with their colors and insignia which can confuse new members or those who are not members of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite.
The purpose of the Scottish Rite cap is for Masons to show to Almighty God as well as to identify a degree and any honors one may have achieved in the Scottish Rite. According to the Supreme Council, the cap is considered a part of the apparel and is not removed, even for prayer and the presentation of the flag. The Scottish Rite cap is not to be worn in any public place not connected to a Scottish Rite meeting. Note that I am speaking primarily of the caps worn by Masons of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite. There are some key differences between the Southern Jurisdiction (SJ) and Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. The NMJ has a cap for officers that are yellow, but that is not a practice in the Southern Jurisdiction.
The black cap adorned with the Scottish Rite double-headed eagle is worn by those who have advanced to the 32° - Master of the Royal Secret. This cap is worn by a majority of the members of the Scottish Rite.
The blue cap emblazoned with the golden number 50 surrounded by a wreath is worn by those Scottish Rite Masons who have been a member for at least 50-years.
The red cap decorated with the red and gold cross of a Knight Commander is worn by those 32° Scottish Rite Masons who have been invested with the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (KCCH). When one has been a 32° for at least 4-years (roughly) can be nominated for their services to the Rite to be awarded the KCCH. It should be noted that this is not a degree, but an investiture to recognize faithful service and does not confer any more power or authority. The KCCH exists in the Supreme Council of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction of the USA, but is not used universally among other Supreme Councils.
The white cap embroidered with the red and gold Patriarchal Cross designates that one has been coronated a 33° Inspector General Honorary. When a Scottish Rite Mason has been a 32° KCCH for four years, has attained the age of 35, and has continued to provide outstanding service to the Rite, he is eligible to receive the 33° Inspector General Honorary. These Brothers are not active members of the Supreme Council, but compose the pool from which those active members are chosen.
The white cap adorned with the gold Teutonic cross of the Grand Cross and surrounded by a band of dark blue velvet bordered in gold is worn by those distinguished Brothers who have been awarded the Grand Cross of the Court of Honor. This is the highest decoration that can be bestowed on an Inspector General Honorary for exceptional services. This rank and designation is not a degree, and members who hold it are designated 33° GCCH or 33° GC.
The white cap adorned with the red and gold Patriarchal Cross and surrounded by a band of red velvet bordered in gold is worn by Brothers who serve as a Deputy of the Supreme Council. In Orients (states, territories, or countries) that do not have an active member of the Supreme Council, the Sovereign Grand Commander can appoint a Deputy to serve as SGIG of that particular Orient, but that does not give him active membership or a vote on the Supreme Council.
The purple cap emblazoned with a purple and gold Patriarchal Cross with crosslets and surrounded by a band of purple velvet, bordered in gold and decorated with a gold vine of laurel leaves and berries is worn by a Sovereign Grand Inspector General (SGIG) and is an active member of the Supreme Council. There is only one active member for an Orient and the SGIG is the highest-ranking officer of the Scottish Rite in the Orient.
The violet cap decorated with the Salem Cross with crosslets and surrounded by a band of violet velvet with a gold vine of laurel leaves and berries is worn only by the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite. The Sovereign Grand Commander is the highest-ranking officer of the Supreme Council invested with the power of supervision and administration within its jurisdiction.
1. Blue Hats in Scottish Rite. (2015). Retrieved from Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/freemasonry/comments/3di5nq/blue_hats_in_scottish_rite/
2. Regalia. (n.d.). Retrieved from Long Beach Scottish Rite: http://www.lbscottishrite.org/?p=regalia
3. The Scottish Rite Caps Explained. (n.d.). Retrieved from Valley of Tulsa: http://www.tulsasr.org/?page_id=124