Sterling silver is 92.5 percent pure silver, making it more valuable and precious than simple silver-plated jewelry pieces. Like all metals, sterling silver is prone to tarnish and scratches with heavy use. It must be polished and buffed to be restored to its original luster. Removing scratches from sterling silver can be done from home, but deeper scratches and gouges should be sent to a professional.
Mix baking soda with a few drops of water until a thick, smooth paste is formed. Make sure all water is fully incorporated into the baking soda so the mixture is no longer grainy prior to using.
Use a polishing cloth or pure cotton rag to apply the baking soda paste to the sterling silver bracelet. Rub the paste into the bracelet with vigor until the silver begins to shine. Check the silver after several rubs to see if the scratches have faded.
Wipe the polished bracelet dry with a clean, dry polishing rag or pure cotton cloth. If scratches remain, repeat until the scratches are gone.
Take a bracelet with deep scratches to a jeweler or jewelry repair specialist. The jeweler will use a special polishing machine to remove some metal from the bracelet to disguise the scratches.
Always use a polishing rag or pure cotton rag to polish and buff silver dry. Synthetic materials can further scratch and damage sterling silver.
William Paul Wentzell is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, holding bachelor's degrees in English and photojournalism. His work has been published in the New York Times, Deseret News, The Victoria Advocate and The Daily Texan.