A diverse range of remarkable boron nitride (BN) nanostructures subsuming nano-horns, nano-rods, nano-platelets, and clusters of hollow nanospheres (nano-onions, arguably of greatest applied and fundamental interest) have been produced exclusively from crystalline BN precursor powder via lamp ablation. The procedure is safe, devoid of toxic reagents, simple, rapid and scalable—generating some genres of nanoparticles that had previously proved elusive. Product structure and composition were unambiguously assessed by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy.[Figure not available: see fulltext.].