Many viewing stones are completely natural. Some are cut to have a flat base that fits into a carved wooden stand. Viewing stones may suggest a mountain rising above the clouds, a waterfall, or even human figures and animals. Stones with interesting surface patterns are also collected. All are valued for their ability to evoke a response in the viewer, rather than for being literally like what they may resemble.
A tiny metal animal or human figure is sometimes added to bring out the mood of a particular stone. Larger viewing stones are sometimes displayed outside in gardens. A number displayed together on a stand can make for a most interesting “conversation” among the varied shapes, colors, and textures.