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If $Border is greater than zero, a border is drawn around the adornment in this colour.
The special value, "automatic", draws an opaque border in the adornment's natural colour; adornments are otherwise translucent.
If $BorderColor is "automatic" and $BorderBevel is "plain", the colour is a mixture of the note's $Color and its $NameColor. In older versions, the border was drawn in the note's $Color, and so was invisible. $NameColor was chosen because it typically contrasts with $Color, where $AccentColor, the accent colour, might be very close in value to $Color.
$BorderColor can be set via the Appearance Inspector ▸ Border tab's 'Color' control.