Sterling silver can make some of the finest jewelry and family heirlooms and, if properly cared for, it will last generations. Improperly stored, however, silver is fragile and can tarnish and corrode. Sadly, not all storage bags are designed in a way that will keep your silver safe and prevent harm. So how do you know if your storage bag will do more harm than good? To ensure safe storage, look for bags that:

1.  Completely enclose and seal the jewelry – Simply throwing your silver jewelry in a velvet pouch or putting it in a jewelry box may seem like an easy way to store it, but this does not actually protect your valuables from harmful gases that cause tarnish. The same is true of low-quality "protective" bags or strips that don't actually seal out gases. The best sterling silver storage bags are made with a material like Corrosion Intercept®, which is a film that's virtually impermeable to the gases that cause tarnish. The bag should seal in the jewelry and seal out the air around it.

2.  Neutralize gases – There are many reasons that silver jewelry may be exposed to harmful gases, even inside a good silver bag. For example, some air is probably sealed in with it and there is always the risk of not sealing the bag properly. The best sterling silver storage bags not only work to keep gases out, but to neutralize corrosive gases that they come into contact with. That means that even when there is air in the bag with your jewelry, your items will not tarnish.

3.  Fight fungus – Silver has long been prized for its mild antiseptic properties. However, that does not mean that harmful microbes cannot grow on silver jewelry. When seen under a microscope, silver jewelry has a porous surface. Tiny flakes of skin or residue from the oil in our skin will settle onto even the most well-polished silver. This provides ample ground for fungus to grow during storage. Fungus is a completely separate type of damage from tarnish, but is hard to remove and can look just as ugly. Look for a silver bag that will actively fight fungus such as Corrosion Intercept.

4.  Are non-toxic – Despite the many functions of them, the best sterling silver storage bags are non-toxic and will not harm those who handle them or wear the jewelry they contain. If it doesn't say non-toxic, don't use it.

How do you store your sterling silver?