Pearl white car paint colors are created by combining pigments and dyes with pearlescent pigments to achieve a wide variety of colors. There are many types of pigments, dyes and pearlescent pigments available to provide an endless array of color combinations. Pearl white car paint colors are different from metallic paint in part because their sparkle isn’t just silver. Additionally, the “medium” color or the color in which the pearl is suspending in the coating film and how the pearl pigment and the medium color interacts plays an important part in the final color and visual effect.
Two-Stage Pearl White Car Paint Colors
Two-stage car paint colors systems are generally referred to as a basecoat clearcoat system where you will have a colored pearl basecoat and the clearcoat. Two-stage paints are generally easier to apply than three-stage paints as they only have a basecoat and a topcoat/clearcoat to worry about. Additionally, they generally cost less than their three-stage counterparts as well.
Three-Stage Pearl White Car Paint Colors
Three-stage car paint colors systems are generally referred to as a basecoat, midcoat, clearcoat system where you will have a colored basecoat, and translucent midcoat with pearl and then the clearcoat. Three-stage paints are considered more difficult to apply than their two-stage counterparts and generall cost more too. However, they have a unique look that is hard to match by any other car paint system. Their three-step process of a basecoat, midcoat and a topcoat allow for unique color variations and color flips that give you that truly breath-taking, show-stopping car paint job that everyone will want.
Understanding the Different Types of Pearl White Car Paint Pigments
Pearl pigments are created by a layering of specific metal oxides and complexes to very specific thicknesses on varying substrates. By varying the thickness of the layers and the size and type of substrate used a wide range of products can be created with varying color, chroma, and sparkle effect.
Automotive grade pearl pigments typically contain a weather treatment layer to improve durability for exterior applications. Below we will discuss some of the most common types of pearl white car paint colors used in the automotive paint industry.
Mica Pearl White Car Paint Colors
Mica Pearl White Car Paints are the most common type of pearl and have been used in the automotive coatings industry for well over 50 years. This class of pearl is built from a mica substrate mined from the earth and purified, refined, and classified to create a variety in sparkle effect and “chroma”. Controlled layering of metal compounds creates a wide range of colors. There are literally hundreds of varieties and colors of mica pearl white car paint colors.
pros: wide range of colors and sizes, relatively low cost, ease of availability
cons: typically not as chromatic (“clean”) and sparkling as xirallic and glass based pearls
Xirallic Pearl White Car Paint Colors
Xirallic pearl white car paint colors are a relatively new type of pearl to the automotive coatings market but have made quite an impact because of their clean, chromatic colors with high sparkle brilliance. These pearls are built on a proprietary synthetic aluminum oxide base substrate and then layered and treated in in much the same way as mica based pearls. Xirallic pearls are widely used in automotive finishes despite being substantially more expensive than mica pearls on average.
pros: beautiful sparkling pearl shimmer, cleaner, less dingy than others in light colors like white tricoats
cons: more expensive than traditional mica pearl white car paint colors, limited colored shimmers, some prefer smaller sparkle.
Glass Pearl White Car Paint Colors
Glass pearl white car paint colors or “ice” pearl white car paint colors (see note below) as they are commonly called in the custom paint industry are built from glass or borosilicate platelets which provides a high degree of transparency and sparkle effect. This class of pearls sees very little use in automotive OEM (orginal factory finish) coatings as they provide more of a unique look and they are commonly larger in size which presents some challenges on assembly line operations. These provide the highest sparkle in the pearl category and also offer some nice clear tri-coat looks, even in lighter colors.
pros: large sparkle = high brilliance; unique look
cons: much more expensive than mica based pearl white car paint colors, often takes extra clear to bury profile
Note: Ice Pearl is a registered and protected trademark of The Valspar Corporation. We are not affiliated with nor endorsed by The Valspar Corporation.
Two stage Pearl pigments are commonly combined with inorganic and organic color pigments in coating films to produce a wide degree of colors and effects. The color a pearl pigment is suspended in can be called the “medium” color. Generally, The medium color is determined by the color of the inorganic or organic pigments while the pearl pigment determines the sparkle or shimmer color. For instance, if gold pearl were added to a jet black paint the medium color would be jet black while the sparkle color would be gold. Depending on the level of pearl pigment added the effect could range from looking like a jet black with a very subtle gold sparkle (low concentration of pearl pigment) to a dark copper-ish gold color (high concentration of pearl). In some cases the sparkle color is strongly altered bt the medium color and in some cases they interact little. The transparency of the pigments used in the medium color and the pearl pigment plays a large role in the effect as well. In fact, some pigments have such little transparency (opaque = low transparency) such as white that pearl pigments are typically completed obscured and no pearl effect is observed when blended together. In order to make pearl colors from this type of pigment a “three stage” process is used where the pearl pigment mixed in a clear medium is applied over the opaque layer of color so the pearl effect can be seen. By combining pearl pigment with a transparent medium the pearl effect becomes more noticeable. However, the downside of this is a poor hiding or covering product which means a hiding or opaque layer must be used beneath. Often color stylist try to balance pearl effect with opacity/coverage to make colors that are more suitable for factory and aftermarket application conditions.
By combining pearl pigments in or over pigmented coatings, a wide range of colors with varying sparkle or colored shimmer effect can be created. As a result of the colored component of the pearl pigment, these colors are said to have more color depth and chroma than metallic colors. However, the opacity or “coverage” of pearl colors is generally less than that of its metallic counter parts so vehicles must be painted all one color prior to panting with the pearl layer. For two stage pearl colors this typically means just priming or sealing the entire vehicle to achieve a uniform color whereas three stage pearl colors are made uniform by the base color.
Hopefully, if you had any questions about pearl white car paints, our article has helped explain what makes pearls work, why they look so rich and vibrant and help reduce any confusion you might have had concerning them and other colors such as their metallic paint counterparts.