Coated grains have always attracted attention, at first of naturalists, and later of geologists, and the interest in these peculiar bodies was re- lated both to their intriguing form and their significance in facies inter- pretation and sedimentology and to their relevance to accumulations of hydrocarbons and other mineral deposits. This resulted in numerous publications on this subject, and the intention of this volume is to sum- marize the present state of knowledge on coated grains. The idea of the book was to unite some general papers with papers reporting case studies of both recent and ancient coated grains. The organization of the book follows this intention. The papers presented in this volume have been invited by the editor; the theme of the book merits a few words of personal history. The development of studies of coated grains during the last two decades has not only resulted in a great increase in knowledge of recent and ancient environments of coated grain formation, but also numerous important and controversial questions of classification, environmental significance, mineralogical composition etc. of ancient coated grains have arisen. To answer these questions, in 1978 I started the study of many ancient and recent occurrences of coated grains at the Institut fUr Geologie, Ruhr-UniversiUH Bochum, following the invitation of Hans Fiichtbauer and sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung.