They are usually used for transferring ice cubes, one at a time, into a drink glass.
They can be made of silver, silver-plate, stainless steel, and sometimes brass.
They can be too flimsy to use for other food items, unless these other items are very small and light.
Commercially, much larger Ice Tongs were used for heaving large blocks of ice around and delivering them to homes for ice boxes. They ended in picks that pointed in at each other, to dig into the block of ice. Now, such Ice Tongs are usually available only at antique stores.
Ice Cube Tongs started appearing during the Victorian era.