Diamonds have been famous throughout the whole history of humankind. Every early civilization that had found diamonds believed there was something mythical about them, almost like it’s out of this world.
The shine of a diamond, its ability to reflect light from the whole spectrum, the elegance, beauty, unbelievable strongness, and the cold feeling it leaves on the skin and lips when it comes in contact have intrigued all the early civilizations. Even today, this cold beauty leaves no one indifferent.
Because of its rich history, the diamond has gained many nicknames. Moreover, it became a verb used in movies, songs, and daily life.
Among the nicknames, verbs, and slang, one of the more interesting ones is to call diamond ice or say something like “Damn! She got some iced-out fingers”. This term is widely used in the hip-hop community, and that’s why you’ll often hear rappers repping about their ice.
If you have ever wondered why diamond is sometimes called ice, this article is here to answer all your questions.
Calling diamonds ice is more than just a popular slang you’ll hear in rap songs. It has some fascinating science and history behind it!
If you want to know more about the fascinating history and thermodynamics behind the popular term, continue reading.
You’ll have some interesting facts about diamonds to tell your friends the next time the topic comes up, and you’ll have an answer to the question of why are diamonds sometimes called ice.
The Thermodynamics Of Diamonds
To learn more about why diamonds are sometimes referred to as ice, we have to dig a bit into the thermodynamics behind diamonds.
Are Diamonds Cold Like Ice?
Many people think diamonds are called ice because they have a clear crystal-like appearance that resembles ice. That is only partially true. Diamonds are also called ice because they feel cold to the touch.
Those who have never held a diamond may assume that diamonds are cold just as ice, and thus the nickname. However, that’s not the case. Ice is much cooler than a diamond.
Ice is frozen and thereby has a temperature below 32 degrees. On the other hand, a diamond is just a bit colder than the average skin temperature, which is around 97 F-99 F. Moreover, ice is a better thermal insulator than a diamond. Diamonds are the best natural heat conductors found on Earth.
You’ve probably heard that copper, silver, and their alloys are excellent heat conductors used as heat exchanger tubings in power plants, electronic systems, and HVAC systems. Diamonds have up to 4 times more heat conductivity than copper and silver.
If diamonds weren’t so expensive, they would be widely used as heat conductors and most likely replace other materials.
Why Are Diamonds Cold?
A diamond pulls away the heat from the object it touches, thanks to its excellent heat conductivity.
When you hold a diamond against your lips or skin, it will feel cold at first, but quickly you’ll notice it has gotten warmer. That’s because the diamond has sucked out the heat from the area on your skin. They can quickly become the same temperature as your body.
An interesting fact about differentiating glass from diamonds is that glass will stay cold while diamonds will become warm when you hold them in your hands.
Can Diamonds Freeze?
When hearing or reading anything about diamonds, their incredible durability usually comes up as a topic. So, it’s natural to ask yourself if a diamond can freeze enough so that it can be shattered into dust particles.
The answer is no, diamonds can’t freeze, and you won’t be able to shatter one into particles.
That’s because diamonds are made from pure carbon. In other words, nothing in a diamond can be frozen. Liquids and volatile materials are what can be frozen.
Sometimes diamonds can contain inclusions that can be considered either impurity or the diamond can be viewed as a fancy one depending on the color and intensity of the inclusions. These inclusions can sometimes impact the diamond’s durability, and they can freeze.
Yellow diamonds contain nitrogen that freezes at -345.748 °F, while violet and grey diamonds have hydrogen inclusions that freeze at -434.452 °F. However, you don’t have to worry about your fancy diamond freezing because these extremely low temperatures you won’t encounter in nature, at least not on Earth.
Are The Structures Of Ice And Diamonds The Same?
No, ice and diamonds don’t have the same structure.
To the naked eye, ice and diamonds may look very similar because of their clarity, the way they reflect light, and their elegant crystal look. There are even exciting phenomena in nature, like the Jewelry Ice on Hokkaido, where the ice incredibly resembles gemstones.
However, they have a completely different structure because ice is a compound while diamonds are an element (carbon).
Related Read: Do Diamonds Melt Ice?
Can Diamonds Burn?
Diamonds can endure heat incredibly well and won’t burn up in flames in normal circumstances. The melting point of diamonds in the presence of oxygen is around 1,290 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on their quality.
Usually, the quality means the presence of inclusions within the diamond and its structure. If you were to melt a diamond in conditions without oxygen, it would turn into graphite.
For those who’re into chemistry, here’s an interesting video about how diamonds can be vaporized.
A Short History Of Diamonds From Plato To 2Pac
Even in early history, diamonds have been considered mythical and exceptional. From the start of civilization to today, many cultures have had fascinating legends, myths, and stories about diamonds. The coldness and resemblance to ice significantly impacted the development of these legends.
Ancient Hindus believed that diamonds are weapons sent to us directly from God. To Buddhists, a diamond symbolizes transcendence and spiritual clarity, while the ancient Greeks thought of diamonds as young men who angered Zeus.
With time, these captivating myths got a more scientific approach when Plato, a famous philosopher of ancient Greece, proposed that diamonds were something extraterrestrial. He believed that diamonds are fallen matter from space.
Once diamonds started crowning engagement rings in medieval ages in the Holy Roman Empire, they got a new nickname, “Stone of Reconciliation.”
Thanks to science and technology, we know that diamonds aren’t out of this world, how they’re formed, and why they’re cold.
Thanks to their coolness and icy look, many rappers like 2Pac popularised using the term “ice” instead of “diamond.”
Learn More: Diamonds Meaning: What Do Diamonds Symbolize?
Ice has become a popular slang term for diamonds in movies, songs, and even day-to-day situations. More and more slang is starting to emerge, where the most creative and interesting ones come from the hip-hop community.
If you’ve ever listened to a rap song, you have heard slogans like Iced out necklace, Dripping on ice, I’ve got some frost bites, and Iced out teeth. Rappers adopted this term to portray the jewelry they have. Moreover, they’ve influenced the rest of the music industry.
These slogans are more than just euphemisms for their jewelry. In many songs, they have a deeper meaning. Most rappers weren’t born rich, so saying “Got some iced out chains” symbolizes how far they got in life.
Today, this meaning behind ice is widely adapted in the music industry. Almost every artist on the music scene, from DJs to RnB singers, is showing off a lot of ice. However, rappers are still more demonstrative in proudly wearing their ice daily, while others reserve it for special occasions like the red carpet.
Here are the most frequently used slangs for diamonds and their meaning:
Iced out is an adjective used to describe someone with a lot of jewelry with diamonds.
For example, if someone says “I’ve got iced out chains“, they mean that their necklaces are crowned with some diamonds.
This term is also commonly used when proposing the ring someone got. “She now got some nasty ice on her fingers”, which means her man got her a nice wedding ring.
Ice The Wrists
“Icing the wrists” means putting on some expansive jewelry with a lot of diamonds on the wrists.
When someone uses this slang, they usually mean they want to put on their Rolex watch that’d adorned with a bunch of diamonds.
Not only the writs can be iced. The same term can be used when putting on a necklace, ring, earrings, and any other jewelry with diamonds.
The popular chick flick movie ’How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days’ with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey has really popularised the slogan “Frost yourself!“
In the movie, this term is used as a slogan for the marketing campaign. To frost yourself means not to spare a penny and to cover yourself with sparkling, classy, and extravagant diamonds.
Iced Grillz: A Throughout History
We can’t talk about iced-out jewelry without mentioning iced grillz. These dental covers are among the most popular accessories celebrities wear.
Iced grillz became immensely popular in the last few years, thanks to the hip-hop community. Grillz are now considered to be an accessory like any other and are an excellent way to express yourself and the wealth you got.
You may think that iced grillz arrived in the 80s when more and more rappers started wearing them. However, iced grillz are much longer around than you may think.
Learn More: Diamond Grillz: Everything You Need to Know
Given By The Etruscans – Received By The Rappers
Iced grillz can be traced back to early civilizations like the Etruscans.
Etruscan lived in 800BC-200BC in the area we know today as Italy. They were a wealthy and powerful civilization, but we know very little about them because there are no writings that survived.
Among the exciting things, archeologists pieced together about this early civilization is that they wore removable covers on their teeth. These covers were made from gold, silver, and other metals and were decorated with jewels.
These iced grills were a sign of wealth, just like they’re today. Dental covers were found mainly among the rich female population of the time, in graves and tombs that belonged to the wealthier class. Some of them even removed their teeth and placed golden dental bridges decorated with gems.
Other civilizations like the Mayans were no exception to the trend of iced teeth. In the Mayan civilization, almost everyone had their teeth decorated with gems regardless of status.
The use of iced grills faded with the early civilizations until rappers popularized them again in the 80s. They became the cutting edge among the rap community. Iced grillz started being a fantastic way of expressing wealth and status.
Some rappers, like Lil Wayne, have taken a step further and encrusted their teeth with diamonds.
For a long time, iced teeth were only worn in the hip-hop community until they got widely accepted around 2010. Now many celebrities decide to crown their teeth with at least one diamond.
Anyone who wants to catch some attention and show off can do that by getting an iced grill or by engraving a diamond in their teeth. That would be, of course, if you got enough money for both the gold, diamonds and the dental intervention.
Related Read: Can You Break A Diamond With Your Teeth?
Using the term ice when talking about diamonds has more to it than just being an adjective to describe the look of a diamond. It has some intriguing history as well as the science behind it.
We hope this article has answered all your questions about why are diamonds sometimes called ice. Moreover, now you definitely have some interesting facts to break the ice when starting a conversation.