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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In 2005, the Lotus Elise sales brochure lists as one of the color choices "Bordeaux Red". On the original window sticker for my car, it shows an extra charge for "metallic paint". I have seen the color referred to as simply "Bordeaux Red", as well as "Bordeaux Red Metallic". But what I see mostly on this forum is the term "Bordeaux Red Pearl". So my question to the knowledge base out there is, where does the term "Pearl" come from?
 

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Material

Metallic: Usually uses very small flakes of aluminum to give the car an obvious sparkle. These aluminum flakes are relatively uniform in size and are evenly mixed with the paint itself.
Pearl: This paint type uses small flakes of mica, a synthetic material that resembles the sheen of a natural pearl. The mica particles are also the same in size and mixed with the base paint.

Perspective-Specific Appeal

Metallic: Gives the car a shine that does not change color when looked at from a different angle. The hue of the paint stays the same no matter how you look at it.
Pearl: The shade of the color of the car will appear to change when you look at it from different perspectives. This gives an illusion of shaded and illuminated areas depending on the amount of light it gets.

Usual Applications

Metallic: Most of the cars with metallic auto paint are of sports-inspired designs with a generally edgy or race car look.
Pearl: Luxury family cars and sedans that are marketed in a corporate setting often use pearlescent car paint.

Light Reception

Metallic: Since cars with metallic paint get their shine from aluminum flakes, light is reflected. These metal flakes act like tiny dots of mirrors spread evenly on the car. This mechanism makes the car shiny in a glitter-like way.
Pearl: The mica particles found in pearl car paints do not reflect light. Instead, the mica flakes let light pass through them and then they are refracted evenly throughout the car’s surface. Unlike the metallic flakes, these mica specks act like very small prisms that refract white light into different shades.

Final Finish

Metallic: The aluminum flakes in metallic paint give a car a very apparent shine which gives it a loud effect.
Pearl: The mica particles in pearlescent paint give cars more of a glow than a shine. It makes cars look crisp, yet soft at the same time.
 

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I'm told pearl is harder to match.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks KWYK for the great discription between metallic and pearl paint. Since the factory description on the window sticker is "metallic paint", it appears that the term " Bordeaux red pearl" is a misnomer.
 
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