Adinkra Symbols

30 Aug

Adinkra Symbols: Wisdom Without Words

Inspiration is the root of all creativity and several of ib designs’ most popular collections share a common muse: Adinkra symbols.

Although these symbols originated in West Africa, we are blessed worldwide with the enduring ancient symbols of the powerful Akan people. Rich with gold, the highly-disciplined society of the West African Akan people developed and expanded the Ashanti Empire from the 12th through the 19th century. Today, the Akan people remain a powerful force across Ghana and the Ivory Coast – more than 20 million Akans now reside in the region. Adinkra symbols were named for King Adinkra in the early 19th century though many were in use centuries before. They were designed to carry wisdom from person to person, generation to generation without words. Adinkra translates to farewell or goodbye and often these symbols were used in fabric worn by royalty or religious leaders to funerals. The symbols also adorned jewelry, furniture and architecture. Each represents a concept, a philosophy or a proverb. They serve as constant, non-verbal reminders of life lessons that remain relevant and enduring as the ages drift by. Women carried the ancestral lineage of the Akan families. Fertility and femininity were celebrated and revered. This matrilineal inspiration is obvious in the strong, graceful and feminine lines that shape each of the Adinkra symbols. For years, we have celebrated the stories behind these symbols and honored the ancient heritage of this dynamic and adaptable culture. We see these messages resonate with our customers all the time – some not only wear the symbols in our collections, they have them made into gorgeous tattoos. Very enduring! Our collections indebted to the Akan people’s Adinkra symbols include: StrengthWawa Aba and Truth collections. In the ib designs workshop, we like to think that these handcrafted jewelry collections allow our customers to continue the tradition of passing along wisdom without words. Whether you wear them yourself as a personal statement or give them to a friend to share the symbol’s special meaning – we hope they make you feel good!


This bold and feminine Adinkra symbol for strength reminds us of the power of the collective….celebrating the power of humility and strength….embrace it! Now available for the little ones. Browse the Strength Collection.

Wawa aba

A symbol of hardiness, toughness and perseverance.

The seed of the wawa tree is extremely hard. In Akan culture, it is a symbol of someone who is strong and tough. It inspires the individual to persevere through hardship. Life’s road is full of bumps, twists and turns. Browse the Wawa aba Collection.


Adinkra symbols impart philosophical and theological meanings. our truth family which is influenced by the Ashanti of West Africa is a powerful expression of being TRUE to yourself… proud….be loud! Browse the Truth Collection.



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