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What in the material causes the highlights to be different colors?

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Specular highlights occur when light is reflected at the surface in the mirror-like direction. This wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specular_highlight#Microfacets explains why plastic spectral highlights look white. Plastic spectral highlights reflect the color of the light source because "plastic is made up of tiny beads of color suspended in a clear polymer". Light gets reflected against this clear coating instead of the actual color beads.